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According to Revelation and Science. 

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" A keen observer of the habits of the red man, and a diligent student of 
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nature of the relics which he has bequeathed to us. It will be especially 
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? .17 oul11 take a lrm " essay to do justice to the many topics handled in 
lir William Dawson s profoundly interesting work." St. James's Gazette. 
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ladoru who have sufficient knowledge to discriminate while they read, 
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Thp results of a tour through Italy, Egypt, and Syria, collected by a 
geological observer of such eminence as Sir William Dawson has shown 
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Ex Libris 





SIR J. W. DAWSON, LL.D., F.R.S., F.G.S. 













IN this edition several corrections and additions, ren- 
dered necessary by the progress of discovery, have 
been introduced into the text, and notes have been 
added with reference to other new points. The 
general statements and conclusions remain, however, 
substantially the same as in 1873; the author having 
seen no valid reason to depart from any of them, 
while with respect to some, additional evidence in 
their favour has been furnished by the facts and dis- 
cussions developed in recent years. 

More full discussion of the Harmony of Geology 
with Revelation, and of the characters and conditions 
of Primitive Men, will be found in the author's more 
recent works, " The Origin of the World " and 
" Fossil Men." 

J. W. U. 

November, !8eG. 


THE science of the earth as illustrated by gcologicnl 
research, f 3 one of the noblest outgrowths of our 
modern intellectual life. Constituting the sum of 
all the natural sciences in their application to the 
history of our world, it affords a very wide and varied 
scope for mental activity, and deals with some of the 
grandest problems of space and time and of organic 
existence. It invites us to be present at the origin 
of things, and to enter into the very workshop of the 
Creator. It has, besides, most important and intimate 
connection with the industrial arts and with the mate- 
rial resources at the disposal of man. Its educational 
value, as a means of cultivating the powers of ob- 
serving and reasoning, and of accustoming the mind 
to deal with large and intricate questions, can scarcely 
be overrated. 

But fully to serve these high ends, the study of 
geology must bo based on a thorough knowledge of 
the subjects which constitute its elementary data. It 
must be divested as far as possible of merely local 
colouring, and of the prejudices of specialists. It 
must bo emancipated from the control of tho bald 
metaphysical speculations so rife in our time, and 

I'UEFACE. \'ii 

above all it must be delivered from that materialistic 
infidelity, which, by robbing nature of the spiritual 
element, and of its presiding Divinity, makes science 
dry, barren, and repulsive, diminishes its educational 
value, and even renders it less efficient for purposes 
of practical research. 

That the want of these preliminary conditions mars 
much of the popular science of our day is too evident ; 
and I confess that the wish to attempt something 
botter, and thereby to revive the interest in geological 
study, to attract attention to its educational value, and 
to remove the misapprehensions which exist in some' 
quarters respecting it, were principal reasons which 
induced me to undertake the series of papers for the 
Leisure Hour, which are reproduced, with some amend- 
ments and extension, in the present work. How far 
I have succeeded, I must leave to the intelligent and, 
I trust, indulgent reader to decide. In any case 1 
have presented this many-sided subject in the aspect 
in which it appears to a geologist whose studies have 
led him to compare with each other the two great 
continental areas which are the classic ground of the 
science, and who retains his faith in those unseen 
realities of which the history of the earth itself is but 
one of the shadows projected on the field of time. 

To geologists who may glance at the following 


pages, i would say that, amidst much that is familiar, 
fchey will find here and there some facts which may 
be new to them, as well as some original suggestions 
and conclusions as to the relations of things, which 
though stated in familiar terms, I have not advanced 
without due consideration of a wide range of facts. 
To the general reader I have endeavoured to present 
the more important results of geological investigation 
divested of technical difficulties, yet with a careful re- 
gard to accuracy of statement, and in such a manner 
as to invite to the farther and more precise study of 
the subject in nature, and in works which enter into 
technical details. I have endeavoured as far as pos- 
sible to mention the authors of important discoveries : 
but it is impossible in a work of this kind to quote 
authority for every statement, while the omission of 
much important matter relating to the topics discussed 
is also unavoidable. Shortcomings in these respects 
must be remedied by the reader himself, with the 
aid of systematic text-books. 

J. W. D. 

January, 1873. 




Uniformity and Progress. Internal Heat. Nebular 
Theory. Probable Condition of the Primitive World 1 


The Laurentian Eocks. Their Character and Distribution. 
The Conditions of their Deposition. Their Meta- 
morphism. Eozoon Cauadense. Laurentian Vegeta- 
tion . . . .17 


Connection of the Laurentian and Primordial. Animals 
of the Primordial Seas. Lingula, Trilobites, Old- 
hivmia, etc. The terms Cambrian and Silurian. 
Statistics of Primordial Life ...-*'. . . ..- , 36 


Geography of the Continental Plateaus. Life of the 
Silurian. Reign of Invertebrates. Corals, Crinoids, 
Mollusks, Crustaceans. The First Vertebrates. 
Silurian Fishes. Land Plants . . i ' . OC 

Physical Character of the Age. Difference of Deposits in 
Marginal and Continental Areas. Specialisation of 
Physical Geography. Corals, Crustaceans, Fishes, 
Insects, Plants . g 




Perfection of Palaeozoic Life. Carboniferous Geography. 
Colours of Sediments. Vegetation. Origin of Coal. 
Land Life. Reptiles, Land Snails, Millipedes, etc. 
--Oceanic Life . . . . . . * . 109 


Movements of the Land. Plication of the Crust. Che- 
mical Conditions of Dolomite, etc. Geographical 
Results of Permian Movements. Life of the Period. 
Summary of Palceozoic History . . . .100 


Characters of the Trias. Summary of Changes in the 
Triassio and Cretaceous Periods. Changes of the 
Continental Plateaus. Relative Duration of the 
Palaeozoic and Mesozoic. Mesozoic Forests. Land 
Animals. The reign of Reptiles. Early Mammals 
and Birds 133 


Animals of the Sea. Great Sea Lizards, Fishes, Cephalo- 
pods, etc. Chalk and its History. Tabular View of 
the Mesozoic Ages 211 


Physical Changes at the end of Mesozoic. Subdivisions 
of the Neozoic. Great Eocene Seas. Land Animals 
and Plants. Life of the Miocene. Reign of Mammals 235 

Later Vegetation. The Animals of the Pliocene Period. 
Approach of the Glacial Period. Character of the 
Post-pliocene or Glacial 208 





Connection of Geological and Human History. The Post- 
glacial Period. Its Relations to the Pre-Historio 
Human Period. Elevation of Post-Pliocene Land. 
Introduction of Man. Subsidence and Ee-elevation. 
Calculations as to Time. Tabular View of the Neozoic 
Ages . . ... . . . , ., ^ . 282 


Relations of Post-pliocene and Modern Animals. Cavern 

Deposits. Kent's Cave. General Remarks . .299 


Theory of Evolution as applied to Man. Its Demands. 
Its Deficiencies. Fallacious Character of Arguments 
of Derivationists. Hypothesis of Creation. Its 
Demands and Advantages 316 

Geological Conditions of Man's Introduction. His Modern 
Date. His Isolated Position. His Higher Powers. 
Pictures of Primitive Man according to Evolution and 
Creation. General Conclusions ..... GC6 






















THE title of this work is intended to indicate precisely 
its nature. It consists of rough, broad sketches ol 
the aspects of successive stages in the earth's history, 
as disclosed by geology, and as they present themselves 
to observers at the present time. The last qualification 
is absolutely necessary, when dealing with a science 
whose goal to-day will be its- starting point to-morrow, 
and in whose view every geological picture must have 
its light and shaded portions, its clear foreground and 
its dim distance, varying according to the lights cast 
on them by the progress of investigation, and accord- 
ing to the standpoint of the observer. In such pic- 
tures results only can be given, not the processes by 
which they have been obtained ; and with all possible 
gradations of light and distance, it may be that the 
artist will bring into too distinct outline facts still only 
dimly perceived, or will give toe little prominence to 


others which should appear in bold relief. He must 
in this judge for himself; and if the writer's impres- 
sions do not precisely correspond with those of others, 
he trusts that they will allow something for difference 
of vision and point of view. 

The difficulty above referred to perhaps rises to its 
maximum in the present chapter. For how can any 
one paint chaos, or give form and filling to the form- 
less void ? Perhaps no word-picture of this period 
of the first phase of mundane history can ever equal 
the two negative touches of the inspired penman 
"without form and void" a world destitute of all 
its present order, and destitute of all that gives it life 
and animation. This it was, and not a complete and 
finished earth, that sprang at first from its Creator's 
hand ; and we must inquire in this first chapter what 
information science gives as to any such condition of 
the earth. 

In the first place, the geological history of the earth 
plainly intimates a beginning, by utterly negativing 
the idea that "all things continue as they were from 
the creation of the world." It traces back to their 
origin not only the animals and plants which at present 
live, but also their predecessors, through successive 
dynasties emerging in long procession from the depths 
of a primitive antiquity. Not only so; it assigns to 
their relative ages all the rocks of the earth's crust, 
and all the plains and mountains built up of them. 
Thus, as we go back in geological time, we leave 
behind us, one by one, all the things with which we 


are familiar, and the inevitable conclusion gains on us 
tliat we must be approaching a beginning, though this 
may be veiled from us in clouds and thick darkness. 
How is it, then, that there are " Uniformitarians" in 
geology, and that it has been said that our science 
shows no traces of a beginning, no indications of an 
end ? The question deserves consideration ; but the 
answer is not difficult. In all the lapse of geological 
time there has been an absolute uniformity of natural 
law. The same grand machinery of force and matter 
has been in use throughout all the ages, working out 
the great plan. Yet the plan has been progressive 
and advancing, nevertheless. The uniformity has been 
in the methods, the results have presented a wondrous 
diversity and development. Again, geology, in its 
oldest periods, fails to reach the beginning of things. 
It shows us how course after course of the building 
has been laid, and how it has grown to completeness, 
but it contains as yet no record of the laying of the 
foundation-stones, still less -of the quarry whence they 
were dug. Still the constant progress which we have 
seen points to a beginning which we have not seen; 
and the very uniformity of the process by which the 
edifice has been erected, implies a time when it had 
not been begun, and when its stones were still repos- 
ing in their native quarry. 

What, then, is the oldest condition of the earth 
actually shown to us by geology, that which pre- 
vailed in the Eozoic or Laurentian period, when the 
oldest rocks known, those constituting the foundation- 


stones of our present continents, were formed and laid 
in their places ? With regard to physical conditions, 
it was a time when our existing continents were yet 
in the bosom of the waters, when the ocean was almost 
universal, yet when sediments were being deposited in 
it as at present, while there were also volcanic foci, 
vomiting forth molten matter from the earth's hidden 
interior. Then, as now, the great physical agencies of 
water and fire were contending with one another for 
the mastery, doing and undoing, building up and 
breaking down. But is this all? Has the earth no 
earlier history ? That it must have had, we may infer 
from many indications ; but as to the nature of these 
earlier states, we can learn from conjecture and in- 
ference merely, and must have recourse to other 
witnesses than those rocky monuments which are the 
sure guides of the geologist. 

One fact bearing on these questions which has long 
excited attention, is the observed increase in tempera- 
ture in descending into deep mines, and in the water 
of deep artesian wells an increase which may be 
stated in round numbers at one degree of heat of the 
centigrade thermometer for every 100 feet of depth 
from the surface. These observations apply of course 
co a very inconsiderable depth, and we have no 
certainty that this rate continues for any great dis- 
tance towards the centre of the earth. If, however, 
we regard it as indicating the actual law of increase 
of temperature, it would result that the whole crust 
of the earth is a mere shell covering a molten mass 


of rocky matter. Thus a very slight step of imagi- 
nation would carry us back to a time when this slender 
crust had not yet formed, and the earth rolled through 
space an incandescent globe, with all its water and 
other vaporisable matters in a gaseous state. As- 
tronomical calculation has, however, shown that the 
earth, in its relation to the other heavenly bodies, 
obeys the laws of a rigid ball, and not of a fluid 
globe. Hence it has been inferred that its actual 
crust must be very thick, perhaps not less than 2,500 
miles, and that its fluid portion must therefore be of 
smaller dimensions than has been inferred from the 
observed increase of temperature. Further, it seems 
to have been rendered probable, from, the density 
of rocky matter in the solid and liquid states, that 
a molten globe would solidify at the centre as well 
as at the surface, and consequently that the earth 
must not only have a solid crust of great thickness, 
but also a solid nucleus, and that any liquid portions 
must be of the nature of a sheet or of detached 
masses intervening between these. On the other 
hand, it has recently been maintained that the calcu- 
lations which are supposed to have established the 
great thickness of the crust, on the ground that the 
earth does not change its form in obedience to the 
attraction of the sun and moon, are based on a mis- 
conception, and that a molten globe with a thin crust 
would attain to such a state of equilibrium in this 
respect as not to be distinguishable from a solid 
planet. This view has been maintained by the French 


physicist, Delaunay, and for some time it made geo- 
logists suppose that, after all, the earth's crust may 
be very thin. Sir William Thomson, however, and 
Archdeacon Pratt, have ably maintained the previous 
opinion, based on Hopkins' calculations; and it is 
now believed that we may rest upon this as repre- 
senting the most probable condition of the interior 
of the earth at present. Another fact bearing on 
this point is the form of the earth, which is now 
actually a spheroid of rotation; that is, of such a 
shape as would result from the action of gravity and 
centrifugal force in the motion of a huge liquid drop 
rotating in the manner in which the earth rotates. 
Of course it. may be said that the earth may have 
been made in that shape to fit it for its rotation ; but 
science prefers to suppose that the form is the result 
of the forces acting on it. This consideration would 
of course corroborate the deductions from that just 
mentioned. Again, if we examine a map showing the 
distribution of volcanoes upon the earth, and trace 
these along the volcanic belt of Western America and 
Eastern Asia, and in the Pacific Islands, and in the 
isolated volcanic regions in other parts of the world ; 
and if we add to these the multitude of volcanoes now 
extinct, we shall be convinced that the sources of 
internal heat, of which these are the vents, must bo 
present almost everywhere under the earth's crust. 
Lastly, if we consider the elevations and depressions 
which large portions of the crust of the earth have 
undergone in geological time, and the actual crump- 


ling and folding of the crust visible in great mountain 
chains, we arrive at a similar conclusion, and also 
become convinced that the crust has been not too 
thick to admit of extensive fractures, flexures, and 
foldings. There are, however, it mus.t be admitted, 
theories of volcanic action, strongly supported by the 
chemical nature of the materials ejected by modern 
volcanoes, which would refer all their phenomena to 
the softening, under the continued influence of heat 
and water, of materials within the crust of the earth 
rather than under it.* Still, the phenomena of vol- 
canic action, and of elevation and subsidence, would, 
under any explanation, suppose intense heat, and 
therefore probably an original incandescent condition. 
La Place long ago based a theory of the originally 
gaseous condition of the solar system on the re- 
lation of the planets to each other, and to the sun, 
on their planes of revolution, the direction of their 
revolution, and that of their satellites. On these 
grounds he inferred that the solar system had been 
formed out of a nebulous mass by the mutual attrac- 
tion of its parts. This view was further strengthened 
by the discovery of nebulae, which it might be sup- 
posed were undergoing the same processes by which 
the solar system was produced. This nebular theory, 
as it was called, was long very popular. It was 
subsequently supposed to be damaged by the fact 
that some of the nebulas which had been regarded as 
systems in progress of formation were found by im- 
* Dr. T. Sterry Hunt, in Sillimans Journal, 1870. 



proved telescopes to be really clusters of stars, and 
it was inferred that tlie others might bo of like 
character. Tho spectroscope has, however, more 
recently shown that some nebulae are actually gaseous ; 
and it has even been attempted to demonstrate that 

Figs. 1 to 5. Ideal sections illustrating the Genesis of the Earth. 

Fig. 1. A vaporous world. 

Fig. 2. A world with a central fluid nnclc-Tis (fc) and a photosphere (a). 

Fig. 3. The photosphere darkened, and a solid crust (c) and solid 
aucleus (d) formed. 

Fig. 4. Water (e) deposited on the crust, forming a universal ocean. 

Fig. 5. The crust crumpled by shrinkage, land elevated, and the water 
occupying the intervening depressions. 

The figures are all of uniform s'lze ; but the circle (A) shows the 
diameter of the globe when in the state of fig. 1, and that marked (B) 
its diameter when in the state of fig. 5. In all the figures (a) represents 
vapour or air; (6) liquid rock; (c) solid rock as a crust; (d) solid 
nucleus { ;) water. 


they are probably undergoing change fitting them to 
become systems. This has served to revive the 
nebular hypothesis, which has been further strength- 
ened by the known fact that the sun is still an incan- 
descent globe surrounded by an immense luminous 
envelope of vapours rising from its nucleus and con- 
densing at its surface. On the other hand, while the 
sun may be supposed, from its great magnitude, to 
remain intensely heated, and while it will not be 
appreciably less powerful for myriads of years, the 
moon seems to be a body which has had time to 
complete the whole history of geological change, and 
to become a dry, dead, and withered world, a type 
of what our earth would in process of time actually 

Such considerations lead to the conclusion that the 
former watery condition of our planet was not its first 
state, and that we must trace it back to a previous 
reign of fire. The reasons which can be adduced 
in support of this are no doubt somewhat vague, and 
may in their details be variously interpreted ; but at 
present we have no other interpretation to give of that 
chaos, formless and void, that state in which "nor 
aught nor nought existed/' which the sacred writings 
and the traditions and poetry of ancient nations concur 
with modern science in indicating as the primitive 
state of the earth. 

Let our first picture, then, be that of a vaporous 
mass, representing our now solid planet spread out 
over a space nearly two thousand times greater in 


diameter than that which it now occupies, and whirl- 
ing in its annual round about the still vaporous centre 
of our system, in which at an earlier period the earth 
had been but an exterior layer, or ring of vapour. 
The atoms that now constitute the most solid rocks 
are in this state as tenuous as air, kept apart by the 
expansive force of heat, which prevents not only their 
mechanical union, but also their chemical combination. 
But within the mass, slowly and silently, the force of 
gravitation is compressing the particles in its giant 
hand, and gathering the denser toward the centre, while 
heat is given forth on all sides from the condensing 
mass into the voids of space without. Little by little 
the denser and less volatile matters collect in the 
centre as a fluid molten globe, the nucleus of the 
future planet ; and in this nucleus the elements, obey- 
ing their chemical affinities hitherto latent, are arrang- 
ing themselves in compounds which are to constitute 
the future rocks. At the same time, in the exterior 
of the vaporous envelope, matters cooled by radiation 
into the space without, are combining with each other, 
and are being precipitated in earthy rain or snow into 
the seething mass within, where they are either again 
vaporised and sent to the surface or absorbed in the 
increasing nucleus. As this process advances, a new 
brilliancy is given to the faint shining of the nebulous 
matter by the incandescence of these solid particles in 
the upper layers of its atmosphere, a condition which 
at this moment, on a greater scale, is that of the sun ; 
in the case of the earth, so much smaller in volume, 


and farther from the centre of the system, it came on 
earlier, and has long since passed away. This was 
the glorious starlike condition of our globe : in a 
physical point of view, its most pei'fect and beautiful 
state, when, if there were astronomers with telescopes 
in the stars, they might have seen our now dull 
earth flash forth a brilliant white star secondary to 
the sun. 

But in process of time this passes away. All the 
more solid and less volatile substances are condensed 
and precipitated ; and now the atmosphere, still vast 
in bulk, and dark and misty in texture, contains only 
the water, chlorine, carbonic acid, sulphuric acid, and 
other more volatile substances ; and as these gather in 
dense clouds at the outer surface, and pour in fierce 
corrosive rains upon the heated nucleus, combining 
with its materials, or flashing again into vapour, dark- 
ness dense and gross settles upon the vaporous deep, 
and continues for long ages, until the atmosphere is 
finally cleared of its acid vapours and its superfluous 
waters.* In the meantime, radiation, and the heat 
abstracted from the liquid nucleus by the showers 
of condensing material from the atmosphere, have 
so far cooled its surface that a crust of slag or cinder 
forms upon it. Broken again and again by the heav- 
ings of the ocean of fire, it at length sets permanently, 
and receives upon its bare and blistered surface the 
ever-increasing aqueous and acid rain thrown down 

* Hurifc, " Chemistry of the Primeval Earth," Silliman's 
Journal, 1858. 


from the atmosphere, at first sending it all hissing and 
steaming back, but at length allowing it to remain 
a universal boiling ocean. Then began the reign of 
the waters, and the dominion of fire was confined to 
the abysses within the solid crust. Under the prime- 
val ocean were formed the first stratified rocks, from 
the substances precipitated from its waters, which 
must have been loaded with solid matter. We must 
not imagine this primeval ocean like our own blue 
sea, clear and transparent, but filled with earthy and 
saline matters, thick and turbid, until these were per- 
mitted to settle to the bottom and form the first 
sediments. The severu! changes above referred to are 
represented in diagrammatic form in figs. 1 to 4. 

In the meantime all is not at rest in the interior of 
the new-formed earth. Under the crust vast oceans 
of molten rock may still remain, but a solid interior 
nucleus is being crystallised in the centre, and the 
whole interior globe is gradually shrinking. At 
length this process advances so far that the exterior 
crust, like a sheet of ice from below which the water 
has subsided, is left unsupported; and with terrible 
earthquake-throes it sinks downward, wrinkling up 
into huge folds, between which are vast sunken areas 
into which the waters subside, while from the inter- 
vening ridges the earth's pent-up fires belch forth 
ashes and molten rocks. (Fig. 5.) So arose the first 
dry laud : 

" The mountains huge appear 
Emergent, and their b"ead bare backs upheave 


Into the clouds, their tops ascend the sky, 
So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low 
Down sunk a hollow bottom, broad and deep. 
Capacious bed of waters." 

The cloud was its garment, it was swathed in thick 
darkness, and presented but a rugged pile of rocky 
precipices; yet well might the "morning stars sing 
together, and all the sons of God shout with joy/' 
when its foundations were settled and its corner- 
stone laid, for then were inaugurated the changes 
which were to lead to the introduction of life on the 
earth, and to all the future development of the con- 

Physical geographers have taught us that the great 
continents, whether we regard their coasts or their 
mountain chains, are built up on lines which run 
north-east and south-west, and north-west and south- 
east ; and it is also observed that these lines are great 
circles of the earth tangent to the polar circle. Fur- 
ther, we find, as a result of geological investigation, 
that these lines determined the deposition. and the 
elevation of the oldest rocks known to us. Hence 
it is fair to infer that these were the original directions 
of the first lines of fracture and upheaval. Whether 
these lines were originally drawn by the influence of 
of the seasons on the cooling globe, or by the cur- 
rents of its molten interior, or of the superficial 
ocean, they bespeak a most uniform and equable 
texture for the crust, and a definite law of fracture 
and upheaval ; and they have modified all the eubse- 


quent action of the ocean as a depositor of sediment, 
and of the internal heat as a cause of alteration and 
movement of rocks. Against these earliest belts of 
land the ocean first chafed and foamed. Along their 
margins marine denudation first commenced, and the 
oceanic currents first deposited banks of sediment ; 
and along these first lines have the volcanic orifices 
of all periods been most plentiful, and elevatory move- 
ments most powerfully felt. 

We must not suppose that the changes thus shortly 
sketched were rapid and convulsive. They must have 
required periods of enormous duration, all of which 
had elapsed before the beginning of geological time, 
properly so called. From Sir William Thomson's 
calculations, it would appear that the time which has 
elapsed from the first formation of a solid crust on the 
earth to the modern period may have been from 
seventy to one hundred millions of years : though 
other astronomers and physicists would, on other modes 
of calculation, reduce this time to a much smaller 
apace ; say, to twenty or even fifteen millions of years. 
Such a lapse of time is truly almost inconceivable, but 
it is only a few days to Him with whom one day is as 
a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 
How many and strange pictures does this series of 
processes call up ! First, the uniform vaporous ne- 
bula. Then the formation of a liquid nucleus, and a 
brilliant photosphere without. Then the congealing 
of a solid crust under dark atmospheric vapours, and 
the raining down of acid and watery showers. Then 


the universal ocean, its waves rolling unobstructed 
around the globe, and its currents following without 
hindrance the leading of heat and of the earth's rota- 
tion. Then the rupture of the crust and the emer- 
gence of the nuclei of continents. 

Some persons seem to think that by these long 
processes of creative work we exclude the Creator, and 
would reduce the universe into a mere fortuitous 
concourse of atoms. To put it in more modern phrase, 
" given a quantity of detached fragments cast into 
space, then mutual gravitation and the collision of the 
fragments would give us the spangled heavens." But 
we have still to ask the old question, " Whence the 
atoms?" and we have to ask it with all the added 
weight of our modern chemistry, so marvellous in its 
revelations of the original differences of matter and 
their varied powers of combination. We have to ask, 
What is gravitation itself, unless a mode of action of 
Almighty power ? We have to ask for the origin of 
of thousands of correlations, binding together the past 
and the future in that orderly chain of causes and 
effects which constitutes the plan of the creation. If 
it pleased God to create in the beginning an earth 
" formless and void," and to elaborate from this all 
that has since existed, who are we, to say that the 
plan was not the best ? Nor would it detract from 
our view of the creative wisdom and power if we were 
to hold that in ages to come the sun may experience 
the same change that has befallen the earth, and may 
become " black as sackcloth of hair," preparatory, 


perhaps, to changes which may make him also the 
abode of life; or if the earth, cooling still farther, 
should, like our satellite the moon, absorb all ics 
waters and gases into its bosom, and become bare, 
dry, and parched, until there shall be " no more sea," 
how do we know but that then there shall be no 
more need of the sun, because a better light may be 
provided ? Or that there may not be a new baptism 
of fire in store for the earth, whereby, being melted 
with fervent heat, it may renew its youth in the fresh 
and heavenly loveliness of a new heaven and a new 
earth, free from all the evils and imperfections of the 
present ? God is not slack in these things, as some 
men count slackness ; but His ways are not like our 
ways. He has eternity wherein to do His work, and 
takes His own time for each of His operations. The 
Divine wisdom, personified by a sacred writer, may 
well in this exalt his own office : 

" Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of His way. 
Before His work of old. 
I was set up from everlasting, 
From the beginning, or ever the earth was. 
When there were no deeps, I was brought forth; 
When there were no fountains abounding in water, 
Before the mountains were settled, 
Before the hills, was I brought forth : 
While as yet He had not made the earth, 
Nor the plains, nor the higher part of the habitable world, 
When He gave the sea His decree, 
That her waters should not pass His limits; 
When He determined the foundations of the earth." 



THB dominion of heat has passed away; the excess 
of water has been precipitated from the atmosphere, 
and now covers the earth as a universal ocean. The 
crust has folded itself into long ridges, the bed of the 
waters has subsided into its place, and the sea for the 
first time begins to rave against the shores of the 
newly elevated land, while the rain, washing the bart. 
surfaces of rocky ridges, carries its contribution of 
the slowly wasting rocks back into the waters whence 
they were raised, forming, with the material worn from 
the crust by the surf, the first oceanic sediments. 
Do we know any of these earliest aqueous beds, or 
are they all hidden from view beneath newer deposits, 
or have they been themselves worn away and de- 
stroyed by denuding agencies ? Whether we know 
the earliest formed sediments is, and may always 
remain, uncertain ; but we do know certain very 
ancient rocks which may be at least their immediate 

Deepest and oldest of all the rocks we are ac- 
quainted with in the crust of the earth, are certain 
beds much altered and metamorphosed, baked by 
the joint action of heat and heated moisture rocks 
once called Azoic, as containing no traces of life, 



but for which I have elsewhere proposed the name 
" Eozoic," or those that afford the traces of the 
earliest known living beings. These rocks are the 
Laurentian Series of Sir William Logan, so named 
from the Laurentide hills, north of the River St. 
Lawrence, which are composed of these ancient beds, 
and where they are more largely exposed than in 
any other region. It may seem at first sight 
strange that any of these ancient rocks should be 
found at the surface of the earth ; but this is a 

Fig. 6. The Laurentian nucleus of the American continent. 

necessary result of the mode of formation of the 
continents. The oldest rocks, thrown up in places 
into high ridges, have either not been again brought 


under the waters, or have lost by denudation the 
sediments once resting on them ; and being of a 
hard and resisting nature, still remain, and often 
rise into hills of considerable elevation, showing 
as it were portions of the skeleton of the earth 
protruding through its superficial covering. Such 
rocks stretch along the north side of the St. Lawrence 
river from Labrador to Lake Superior, and thence 
northwardly to an unknown distance, constituting 
a wild and rugged district often rising into hills 
4000 feet high, and in the deep gorge of the 
Saguenay forming cliffs 1,500 feet in sheer height 
from the water's edge. South of this great ridge, 
the isolated mass of the Adirondack Mountains 
rises to the height of 6,000 feet, rivalling the newer, 
though still very ancient, chain of the White Moun- 
tains. Along the eastern coast of North America, 
a lower ridge of Laurentian rock, only appearing 
here and there from under the overlying sediments, 
is seen in Newfoundland, in New Brunswick, pos- 
sibly in Nova Scotia, and perhaps farther south in 
Massachusetts, and as far as Maryland. In the old 
world, rocks of this age do not, so far as known, 
appear so extensively. They have been recognised 
in Norway and Sweden, in the Hebrides, and in 
Bavaria, and may, no doubt, be yet discerned in 
other localities. Still, the grandest and most 
instructive development of these rocks is in North 
America; and it is there that we may best investi- 
gate their nature, and endeavour to restore the 


conditions in which they were deposited. It has 
been already stated that the oldest wrinkles of the 
crust of the globe take the direction of great circles 
of the earth tangent to the polar circle, forming 
north-east and south- west, and north-west and south- 
east lines. To such lines are the great exposures of 
Laurentian rock conformed, as may be well seen 
from the map of North America (fig. 6), taken from 
Dana, with some additions. The great angular 
Laurentian belt is evidently the nucleus of the con- 
tinent, and consists of two broad bands or ridges 
meeting in the region of the great lakes. The 
remaining exposures are parallel to these, and appear 
to indicate a subordinate coast-line of comparatively 
little elevation. It is known that these Laurentiau 
exposures constitute the oldest part of the continent, 
a part which was land before any of the rocks of the 
shaded portion of the map were deposited in the 
bed of the ocean all this shaded portion being 
composed of rocks of various geological ages resting 
on the older Laurentian. It is further to be observed 
that the beds occurring in the Laurentian bands are 
crumpled and folded in a most remarkable manner, 
aud that these folds were impressed upon them before 
the deposition of the rocks next in geological age. 

What then are these oldest rocks deposited by the 
sea the firstborn of the reign of the waters ? They 
are very different in their external aspect from the 
silt and mud, the sand and gravel, and the shell 
and coral rocks of the modern sea, or of the more 


recent geological formations. Yet the difference is 
one in condition rather than composition. The 
members of this ancient aristocracy of the rocks 
are made of the same clay with their fellows, but 
have been subjected to a refining and crystallizing 
process which has greatly changed their condition. 
They have been, as geologists say, metamorphosed; 
and are to ordinary rocks what a china vase is to 
the lump of clay from which it has been made. 
Deeply buried in the earth under newer sediments, 
they have been baked, until sandstones, gravels, and 
clays came out bright and crystalline, as gneiss, 
mica- schist, hornblende-schist, and quartzite all 
hard crystalline rocks showing at first sight no 
resemblance to their original material, except in the 
regularly stratified or bedded arrangement which 
serves to distinguish them from igneous or volcanic 
rocks. In like manner certain finer, calcareous sedi- 
ments have been changed into Labrador feldspar, 
sometimes gay with a beautiful play of colour, and 
what were once common limestones appear as cry- 
stalline marble. If the evidence of such metamor- 
phoses is asked for, this is twofold. In the first 
place, these rocks are similar in structure to more 
modern beds which have been partially metamor- 
phosed, and in which the transition from the unaltered 
to the altered state can be observed. Secondly, 
there are limited areas in the Laurentian itself, in 
which the metainorphism has been so imperfect as 
to permit traces of the original character of the rocks 


to remain. It seems also quite certain, and this 
ia a most important point for our sketch, that the 
Laurentian ocean was not universal, but that there 
were already elevated portions of the crust capable 
of yielding sediment to the sea. 

In North America these Laurentian rocks attain 
to an enormous thickness. This has been estimated 
by Sir W. E. Logan at 30,000 feet, so that the beds 
would, if piled on each other horizontally, be as high 
as the highest mountains on earth. They appear to 
consist of two great series, the Lower and Upper 
Laurentian. Even if we suppose that in the earlier 
stages of the world's history erosion and deposition 
were somewhat more rapid than at present, the 
formation of such deposits, probably more widely 
spread than any that succeeded them, must have 
required an enormous length of time. 

Geologists long looked in vain for evidences of life 
in the Laurentian period; but just as astronomers 
have suspected the existence of unknown planets 
from the perturbations due to their attraction, geolo- 
gists have guessed that there must have been some 
living things on earth even at this early time. Dana 
and Sterry Hunt especially have committed them- 
selves to such speculations. The reasons for this 
belief may be stated thus: (1.) In later formations 
limestone is usually an organic rock, produced by the 
accumulation of shells, corals, and similar calcareous 
organisms in the sea, and there are enormous lime- 
Btones in the Laurentian, constituting regular beds. 


(2.) In later formations coaly matter is an organic 
substance, derived from vegetables, and there are 
large quantities of Laurentian carbon in the form of 
graphite. (3.) In later formations deposits of iron 
ores are almost always connected with the deoxidising 
influence of organic matters as an efficient cause of 
their accumulation, and the Laurentian contains im- 
mense deposits of iron ore, occurring in layers in the 
manner of later deposits of these minerals. (4.) The 
limestone, carbon, and iron of the Laurentian exist 
in association with the other beds in the same manner 
as in the later formations in which they are known to 
be organic. 

In addition to this inferential evidence, however, 
one well-marked animal fossil has at length been 
found in the Laurentian of Canada, Eozoon Canadense, 
(fig. 7), a gigantic representative of one of the lowest 
forms of animal life, which the writer had the honour 
of naming and describing in 1865 its name of 
"Dawn-animal" haying reference to its great an- 
tiquity and possible connection with the dawn of life 
on our planet. In the modern seas, among the 
multitude of low forms of life with which they swarm, 
occur some in which the animal matter is a mere 
jelly, almost without distinct parts or organs, yet un- 
questionably endowed with life of an animal character. 
Some of these creatures, the Foraminifera, have the 
power of secreting at the surface of their bodies a 
calcareous shell, often divided into numerous cham- 
bers, communicating with each other, and with the 


water without, by pores or orifices through which the 
animal can extend soft and delicate prolongations of 
its gelatinous body, which, when stretched out into 
the water, serve for arms and legs. In modern times 

Fig. 7. Eozoon Canadi-nse. Dawson. 

The oldest known animal. Portion of skeleton, two-thirds natural size, (a) 
Tubulated cell-wall, magnified, (b) Portion of canal system, magnified. 

these creatures, though extremely abundant in the 
ocean, are usually small, often microscopic ; but in a 
fossil state there are others of somewhat larger size, 
though few equalling the Eozoon, which seems to 
have been a sessile creature, resting on the bottom of 


the sea, and covering its gelatinous body with a thin 
crust of carbonate of lime or limestone, adding to this, 
as it grew in size, crust after crust, attached to each 
other by numerous partitions, and perforated with 
pores for the emission of gelatinous filaments. This 
continued growth of gelatinous animal matter and 
carbonate of lime went on from age to age, accumu- 
lating great beds of limestone, in some of which the 
entire form and most minute structures of the creature 
are preserved, while in other cases the organisms have 
been broken up, and the limestones are a mere con- 
geries of their fragments. It is a remarkable instance 
of the permanence of fossils, that in these ancient 
organisms the minutest pores through which the 
semi-fluid matter of these humble animals passed, 
have been preserved in the most delicate perfection. 
The existence of such creatures supposes that of other 
organisms, probably microscopic plants, on which they 
could feed. No traces of these have been observed, 
though the great quantity of carbon in the beds 
probably implies the existence of larger seaweeds. 
No other form of animal has yet been distinctly 
recognized in the Laurentian limestones, but there are 
fragments of calcareous matter which may have be- 
longed to organisms distinct from Eozoon. Of life on 
the Laurentian land we know nothing, unless the 
great beds of iron ore already referred to may be 
taken as a proof of land vegetation.* 

* It is proper to state here that some geologists and natural- 
ists still doubt the organic nature of Eozoon. Their objections, 


To an observer in the Laurentian period, the earth 
would have presented an almost boundless ocean, its 
waters, perhaps, still warmed with the internal heat, 
and sending up copious exhalations to be condensed in 
thick clouds and precipitated in rain. Here and there 
might be seen chains of rocky islands, many of them 
volcanic, or ranges of bleak hills, perhaps clothed with 
vegetation the forms of which are unknown to us. In 
the bottom of the sea, while sand and mud and gravel 
were being deposited in successive layers in some 
portions of the ocean floor, in others great reefs of 
Eozoon were growing up in the manner of reefs of coral. 
If wo can imagine the modern Pacific, with its volcanic 
islands and reefs of coral, to be deprived of all other 
forms of life, we should have a somewhat accurate 
picture of the Eozoic time as it appears to us now. 
I say as it appears to us now ; for we do not know 
what new discoveries remain to be made. More 
especially the immense deposits of carbon and iron in 
the Laurentian would seem to bespeak a profusion of 
plant life in the sea or on the land, or both, second to 
that of no other period that succeeded, except that 
of the great coal formation. Perhaps no remnant of 
this primitive vegetation exists retaining its form or 
structure; but we may hope for better things, and 

however, so far as stated publicly, have been shown to depend 
on misapprehension as to the structures observed and their 
state of preservation ; and specimens recently found in com- 
paratively unaltered rocks have indicated the true character of 
those moi <j altered by metamorphiom. 


cherish the expectation that some fortunate discovery 
may still reveal to us the forms of the vegetation of 
the Laurentian time. 

It is remarkable that the humbly organized living 
things which built up the Laurentian limestones have 
continued to exist unchanged, save in dimensions, up 
to modern times ; and here and there throughout the 
geological series we find beds of Foraminiferous lime- 
stone, similar, except in the species of Foraminifei'a 
composing them, to that of the Laurentian. It is 
true that other kinds of creatures, the coral animals 
more particularly, have been introduced, and have 
proved equally efficient builders of limestones; but 
in the deeper parts of the sea the Foraminifera con- 
tinue to assert their pre-eminence in this respect, and 
the dredge reveals in the depths of our modern oceans 
beds of calcareous matter which may be regarded as 
identical in origin with the limestones formed in the 
period which is to us the dawn of organic life. 

Many inquiries suggest themselves to the zoologist 
in connection with the life of the Laurentian period. 
Was Eozoon the first creature in which the wondrous 
forces of animal life were manifested, when, in obe- 
dience to the Divine fiat, the waters first " swarmed 
with swarmers," as the terse and expressive language 
of the Mosaic record phrases it ? If so, in contem- 
plating this organism we are in the presence of one of 
the greatest of natural wonders brought nearer than 
in any other case to the actual workshop of the 
Almighty Maker. Still we cannot affirm that other 


creatures even more humble may not have preceded 
Eozoon, since such humble organisms are known in 
the present world. Attempts have often been made, 
and very recently have been renewed with much affir- 
mation of success, to prove that such low forms of life 
may originate spontaneously from their materials in 
the waters ; but so far these attempts merely prove 
that the invisible germs of the lower animals and 
plants exist everywhere, and that they have marvellous 
powers of resisting extreme heat and other injurious 
influences. We need not, therefore, be surprised if 
even lower forms than Eozoon may have preceded 
that creature, or if some of these may be found, like 
the organisms said to live in modern boiling springs, 
to have had the power of existing even at a time 
when the ocean may have been almost in a state of 
ebullition. Another problem is that of means of 
subsistence for the Eozoic Foraminifera. A similar 
problem exists in the case of the modern ocean, in 
whose depths live multitudes of creatures, where, so 
far as we know, vegetable matter, ordinarily the 
basis of life, cannot exist in a living condition. It is 
probable, however, from the researches of Dr. Wyville 
Thompson, that this is to be accounted for by the 
abundance of life at the surface and in the shallower 
parts of the sea, and by the consequent diffusion 
through the water of organic matter in an extremely 
tenuous state, but yet sufficient to nourish these 
creatures. The same may have been the case in the 
Eozoic sea, where, judging from the vast amount of 


residual carbon, there must have been abundance of 
organic matter, either growing at the bottom, or 
falling upon it from the surface ; and as the Eozoon 
limestones are usually free from such material, we may 
assume that the animal life in them was sufficient to 
consume the vegetable pabulum. On the other hand, 
as detached specimens of Eozoon occur in graphitic 
limestones, we suppose that in some cases the vege- 
table matter was in excess of the animal, and this may 
have been either because of its too great exuberance, 
or because the water was locally too shallow to permit 
Eozoon and similar creatures to flourish. These 
details we must for the present fill up conjecturally ; 
but the progress of discovery may give us further 
light as to the precise conditions of the beginning of 
life in the " great and wide sea wherein are moving 
things innumerable/' and which is as much a wonder 
now as in the days of the author of the " Hymn of 
Creation,"* in regard to the life that swarms in all 
its breadth and depth, the vast variety of that life, 
and its low and simple types, of which we can affirm 
little else than that they move. 

The enormous accumulations of sediment on the 
still thin crust of the earth in the Laurentian period 
accumulations probably arranged in lines parallel 
to the directions of disturbance already indicated 
weighed down the surface, and caused great masses 
of the sediment to come within the influence of the 
heated interior nucleus. Thus, extensive meta- 
* Psalm civ. 


morphism took place, and at length the tension 
becoming too great to be any longer maintained, a 
second great collapse occurred, crumpling and dis- 
turbing the crust, and throwing up vast masses of 
the Laurentian itself, probably into lofty mountains 
many of which still remain of considerable height, 
though they have been subjected to erosion through- 
out all the extent of subsequent geological time. 

The Eozoic age, whose history we have thus shortly 
sketched, is fertile in material of thought for the 
geologist and the naturalist. Until the labours of 
Murchison, Sedgwick, Hall, and Barrande had de- 
veloped the vast thickness and organic richness of the 
Silurian and Cambrian rocks, no geologist had any 
idea of the extent to which life had reached backward 
in time. But when this new and primitive world of 
Siluria was unveiled, men felt assured that they had 
now at last reached to the beginnings of life. The 
argument on this side of the question was thus put 
by one of the most thoughtful of English geologists, 
Professor Phillips : " It is ascertained that in passing 
downwards through the lower Palaeozoic strata, the 
forms of life grow fewer and fewer, until in the lowest 
Cambrian rocks they vanish entirely. In the thick 
series of these strata in the Longmynd, hardly any 
traces of life occur, yet these strata are of such a kind 
as might be expected to yield them. . . . The 
materials are fine-grained or arenaceous, with or with- 
out mica, in laminae or beds quite distinct, and of 
various thicknesses, by no means unlikely to retain 


impressions of a delicate nature, such as those left by 
graptolites, or mollusks, or annulose crawlers. Indeed, 
one or two such traces are supposed to have been 
recognised, so that the almost total absence of the 
traces of life in this enormous series is best understood 
by the supposition that in these parts of the sea little 
or no life existed. But the same remark of the ex- 
cessive rarity of life in the lower deposits is made in 
North America, in Norway, and in Bohemia, countries 
well searched for this very purpose, so that all our 
observations lead to the conviction that the lowest of 
all the strata are quite deficient of organic remains. 
The absence is general it appears due to a general 
cause. Is it not probable that during these very early 
periods the ocean and its sediments were nearly 
devoid of plants and animals, and in the earliest time 
of all, which is represented by sediments, quite de- 
prived of such ? " These words were written many 
years ago, and about the same time were published in 
America those anticipations of the probability of life 
in the Laurentian already referred to, and Lyell was 
protesting against the name Primordial, on the ground 
that it implied that we had reached the beginning 
of life, when this was not proved. Yet there were 
elements of truth in both views. It is true now, as 
then, that the Primordial seems to be a morning hour 
of life, having, as we shall see in our next paper, un- 
mistakable signs about it of that approach to the 
beginning to which Phillips refers. It is also true 
that it is not so early a morning hour as one who has 


not risen with the dawn might suppose, since with its 
apparently small beginnings of life it is almost as far 
removed from the Eozoon reefs of the early Lauren- 
tian on the one hand, as it is from the modern period 
on the other. The dawn of life seems to have been 
a very slow and protracted process, and it may have 
required as long a time between the first appearance 
of Eozoon and the first of those primordial Trilobites 
which the next period will introduce to our notice, 
as between these and the advent of Adam. Perhaps 
no lesson is more instructive than this as to the length 
of the working days of the Almighty. 

Another lesson lies ready for us in these same facts. 
Theoretically, plants should have preceded animals; 
and this also is the assertion of the first chapter oi 
Genesis ; but the oldest fossil certainly known to us 
is an animal. What if there were still earlier plants, 
whose remains are still to be discovered ? For my 
own part, I can see no reason to despair of the 
discovery of an Eophytic period preceding the Eozoic; 
perhaps preceding it through ages of duration to us 
almost immeasurable, though still within the possible 
time of the existence of the crust of the earth. It 
is even possible that in a warm and humid condition 
of the atmosphere, before it had been caused " to 
rain upon the earth/' and when dense "mists as- 
cended from the earth and watered the whole surface 
of the ground/'* vegetation may have attained to a 

* Genesis ii. 5. For a description of this Eophytic period of 
Genesis, see the Author's " Avchaia," p-j. 160 et seq. 


profusion and grandeur unequalled in the periods 
whose flora is known to us. 

But while Eozoon thus preaches of progress and of 
development, it has a tale to tell of unity and same- 
ness. Just as Eozoon lived in the Laurentian sea, 
and was preserved for us by the infiltration of its 
canals with siliceous mineral matters, so its suc- 
cessors and representatives have gone on through all 
the ages accumulating limestone in the sea bottom. 
To-day they are as- active as they were then, and are 
being fossilised in the same way. The English chalk 
and the chalky modern mud of the Atlantic sea-bed, 
are precisely similar in origin to the Eozoic lime- 
stones. There is also a strange parallelism in the fact 
that in the modern seas Foraminifera can live under 
conditions of deprivation of light and vital air, and 
of enormous pressure, under which few organisms 
of greater complexity could exist, and that in like 
manner Eozoon could live in seas which were perhaps 
as yet unfit for most other forms of life. 

It has been attempted to press the Eozoic Forami- 
nifers into the service of those theories of evolution 
which would deduce the animals of one geological 
period by descent with modification from those of 
another ; but it must be confessed that Eozoon proves 
somewhat intractable in this connection. In the first 
place, the creature is the grandest of his class, both 
in form and structure; and if, on the hypothesis of 
derivation, it has required the whole lapse of geo- 
logical time to disintegrate Eozoon into Orbulma, 



Globigerina, and other comparatively simple Forami- 
nifers of the modern seas, it may have taken as long, 
probably much longer, to develop Eozoon from such 
simple forms in antecedent periods. Time fails for 
such a process. Again, the deep sea has been the 
abode of Foraminifers from the first. In this deep 
sea they have continued to live without improvement, 
and with little material change. How little likely is 
it that in less congenial abodes they could have im- 
proved into higher grades of being; especially since 
we know that the result in actual fact of any such 
struggle for existence is merely the production of 
depauperated Foraminifers ? Further, there is no 
link of connection known to us between Eozoon and 
any of the animals of the succeeding Primordial, which 
are nearly all essentially new types, vastly more 
different from Eozoon than it is from many modern 
creatures. Any such connection is altogether imagin- 
ary and unsupported by proof. The laws of creation 
actually illustrated by this primeval animal are only 
these : First, that there has been a progress in 
creation from few, low, and generalised types of life 
to more numerous, higher, and more specialised types; 
and secondly, that every type, low or high, was in- 
troduced at first in its best and highest form, and was, 
as a type, subject to degeneracy, and to partial or 
total replacement by higher types subsequently in- 
troduced. I do not mean that we could learn all this 
from Eozoon alone; but that, rightly considered, it 
illustrates these laws, which we gather from the 


subsequent progress of the creative work. As to the 
mystery of the origin of living beings from dead 
matter, or any changes which they may have under- 
gone after their creation, it is absolutely silent. 

NOTE. To the statement respecting metamorphism on p. 
21, it should be added that the gneiss of the Laurentian must 
have been originally different from ordinary sediments, and 
probably consists largely of the material of the primitive 
crust, arranged in beds under the agency of heated water, 
and not subjected to any atmospheric decay. This subject is 
discussed in my address to the British Association, 1886. 



BETWEEN the time when Eozoon Canadense flourished 
in the seas of the Laurentian period, and the age 
which we have been in the habit of calling Primor- 
dial, or Cambrian, a great gap evidently exists in our 
knowledge of the succession of life on both of the 
continents, representing a vast lapse of time, in which 
the beds of the Upper Laurentian were deposited, and 
in which the Laurentian sediments were altered, con- 
torted, and upheaved, before another immense series 
of beds, the Huronian, or Lower Cambrian, was formed 
in the bottom of the sea. Eozoon and its companions 
occur in the Lower Laurentian. The Upper Lauren- 
tian has afforded no evidence of life ; and even those 
conditions from which we could infer life are absent. 
The Lowest Cambrian, as we shall see, presents only 
a few traces of living beings. Still, the physical 
history of this interval must have been most impor- 
tant. The wide level bottom of the Laurentian sea 
was broken up and thrown into those bold ridges 
which were to constitute the nuclei of the existing 
continents. Along the borders of these new-made 
lands intense volcanic eruptions broke forth, produ- 
cing great quantities of lava and scoriae and huge 
beds of conglomerate and volcanic ash, which are 


characteristic features of the older Cambrian in both 
hemispheres. Such conditions, undoubtedly not fa- 
vourable to life, seem to have prevailed, and extended 
their influence very widely, so that the sediments of 
this period are among the most barren in fossils of 
any in the crust of the earth. If any quiet undis- 
turbed spots existed in which the Lower Laurentian 
life could be continued and extended in preparation 
for the next period, we have yet discovered few of 
them. The experience of other geological periods 
would, however, entitle us to look for such oases in 
the Lower Cambrian desert, and to expect to find 
there some connecting links between the life of the 
Eozoic and the very dissimilar fauna of the Primor- 

The western hemisphere, where the Laurentian is 
so well represented, is especially unproductive in 
fossils of the immediately succeeding period. The 
only known exception is the occurrence of Eozoon 
and of apparent casts of worm-burrows in rocks at 
Madoc in Canada, overlying the Laurentian, and be- 
lieved to be of Huronian age, and certain obscure 
fossils of uncertain affinities, recently detected by Mr. 
Billings, in rocks supposed to be of this age, in New- 
foundland. Here, however, the European series comes 
in to give us some small help. Giimbel has described 
in Bavaria a great series of gneissic rocks correspond- 
ing to the Laurentian, or at lea,st to the lower part of 
it ; above these are what he calls the Hercynian mica- 
slate and primitive clay- slate, in the latter of which 


he finds a peculiar species of Eozoon, which he names 
Eozoon Bavaricum. In England also the Longmynd 
group of rocks in Shropshire and in Wales, which is 
separated from the Laurentian by thick series of barren 
crystalline rocks, has afforded some obscure " worm- 
burrows/' or, perhaps, casts of sponges or fucoids, 
with a small shell of the genus Lingulella, and also 
some remains of crustacean animals. The " Fucoid 
Sandstones" of Sweden, believed *to be of similar 
age, afford traces of marine plants and burrows of 
worms, while the Harlech beds of Wales have afforded 
to Mr. Hicks a considerable number of fossil animals, 
not very dissimilar from those of the Upper Cambrian. 
If these fossils are really the next in order to the 
Eozoic, they show a marked advance in life immedi- 
ately on the commencement of the Primordial period. 
In Ireland, the curious Oldhamia, noticed below, ap- 
pears to occur in rocks equally old. As we ascend, 
however, into the Middle and Upper parts of the 
Cambrian, the Menevian and Lingula flag-beds of 
Britain, and their equivalents in Bohemia and Scan- 
dinavia, and the Acadian and Potsdam groups of 
America, we find a rich and increasing abundance of 
animal remains, constituting the first Primordial fauna 
of Barrande. 

The rocks of the Primordial are principally sandy 
and argillaceous, forming flags and slates, without 
much limestone, and often, through great thicknesses, 
very destitute of organic remains, but presenting some 
layers, especially in their upward extension, crowded 


with fossils. These are no longer mere Protozoa, but 
include representatives of all the great groups of ani- 
mals which yet exist, except the vertebrates. We 
shall not attempt any systematic classification of 
these; but, casting our dredge and tow-net into the 
Primordial sea, examine what we collect, rather in the 
order of relative abundance than of classification. 

Over great breadths of the sea bottom we find vast 
numbers of little bivalve shells of the form and size 
of a finger-nail, fastened by fleshy peduncles imbedded 
in the sand or mud; and thus anchored, collecting 
their food by a pair of fringed arms from the minute 
animals and plants which swarm in the surrounding 
waters. These are the Lingulce, from the abundance 
of which some of the Primordial beds have received 
in England and Wales the name of Lingula flags. 
In America, in like manner, in some beds near St. 
John, New Brunswick, the valves of these shells are 
so abundant as to constitute at least half of the 
material of the bed ; and alike in Europe and 
America, Lingula and allied forms are among the 
most abundant Primordial fossils. The Liugulae are 
usually reckoned to belong to the great sub-king- 
dom of mollusks, which includes all the bivalve and 
univalve shell-fish, and several other groups of crea- 
tures ; but an able American naturalist, Mr. Morse, 
has recently shown that they have many points of 
resemblance to the worms ; and thus, perhaps, consti- 
tute one of those curious old-fashioned "comprehen- 
sive " types, as they have been called, which present 


resemblances to groups of creatures, in more modern 
times quite distinct from each other. He has also 
found that the modern Lmgulee are very tenacious of 
life, and capable of suiting themselves to different 
circumstances, a fact which, perhaps, has some con- 
nection with their long persistence in geological time 
They are in any case members of the group of lamp 
shells, creatures specially numerous and important ir 
the earlier geological ages. 

The Lingulee are especially interesting as ex- 
amples of a type of beings continued almost from the 
dawn of life until now ; for their shells, as they exist 
in the Primordial, are scarcely distinguishable from 
those of members of the genus which still live. While 
other tribes of animals have run through a great 
number of different forms, these little creatures re- 
main the same. Another interesting point is a most 
curious chemical relation of the Lingula, with refe- 
rence to the material of its shell. The shells of mol- 
lusks generally, and even of the ordinary lamp-shells, 
are hardened by common limestone or carbonate of 
lime : the rarer substance, phosphate of lime, is in 
general restricted to the formation of the bones of 
the higher animals. In the case of the latter, this 
relation depends apparently on the fact that the 
albuminous substances on which animals are chiefly 
nourished require for their formation the presence 
of phosphates in the plant. Hence the animal 
naturally obtains phosphate of lime or bone-earth 
with its food, and its system is related to this chemi- 


cal fact in such wise that phosphate of lime is a most 
appropriate and suitable material for its teeth and 
bones. Now, in the case of the lower animals of the 
sea, their food, not being of the nature of the richer 
land plants, but consisting mainly of minute algae 
and of animals which prey on these, furnishes, not 
phosphate of lime, but carbonate. An exception to 
this occurs in the case of certain animals of low grade, 
sponges, etc., which, feeding on minute plants with 
siliceous cell-walls, assimilate the flinty matter and 
form a siliceous skeleton. But this is an exception 
of downward tendency, in which these animals ap- 
proach to plants of low grade. The exception in the 
case of Lingulaa is in the other direction. It gives 
to these humble creatures the same material for their 
hard parts which is usually restricted to animals of 
much higher rank. The purpose of this arrangement, 
whether in relation to the cause of the deviation from 
the ordinary rule or its utility to the animal itself, 
remains unknown. It has, however, been ascertained 
by Dr. Hunt, who first observed the fact in the case 
of the Primordial Lingulae, that their modern suc- 
cessors coincide with them, and differ from their 
contemporaries among the mollusks in the same par- 
ticular. This may seem a trifling matter, but it 
shows in this early period the origination of the dif- 
ference still existing in the materials of which animals 
construct their skeletons, and also the wonderful per- 
sistence of the Lingulaa, through all the geological 
nges, in the material of their shells. This is the more 


remarkable, in connection with our own very slender 
acquaintance with the phenomenon, in relation either 
to its efficient or final causes. 

Before leaving the Lingulae, I may mention that 
Mr. Morse informs me that living specimens, when 
detached from their moorings, can creep like worms, 
leaving long furrows on the sand, and that they can 
also construct sand-tubes wherein to shelter them- 
selves. This shows that some of the abundant " worm 
burrows " of the Primordial may have been the work 
of these curious little shell-fishes, as well as, perhaps, 
some of the markings which have been described 
under the name of Eophyton, and have been supposed, 
I think incorrectly, to be remains of land plants. 

In addition to Lingula we may obtain, though 
rarely, lamp-shells of another type, that of the Orthids. 
These have the valves hinged along a straight line, 
in the middle of which is a notch for the peduncle, 
and the valves are often marked with ribs or striae. 
The Orthids were content with limestone for their 
shells, and apparently lived in the same circumstances 
with the Lingulae; and in the period succeeding the 
Primordial they became far more abundant. Yet 
they perished at an early stage of the world's pro- 
gress, and have no representatives in the modern 

In many parts of the Primordial ocean the muddy 
bottom swarmed with crustaceans, relatives of our 
shrimps and lobsters, but of a form which differs so 
much from these modern shell-fishes that the question 


of their affinities has long been an unsettled one 
with zoologists. Hundreds of species are known, 
some almost microscopic in size, others a foot in 
length. All are provided with a broad flat horseshoe- 
shaped head-plate, which, judging from its form and 
a comparison with the modern king-crabs or horse- 
shoe-crabs, must have been intended as a sort of 
mud-plough to enable them to excavate burrows or 
hide themselves in the slimy ooze of the ocean bed. 
On the sides of this buckler are placed the prominent 
eyes, furnished with many separate lenses, on pre- 
cisely the same plan with those of modern crustaceans 
and insects, and testifying, as Buckland long ago 
pointed out, to the identity of the action of light in 
the ancient and the modern seas. The body was 
composed of numerous segments, each divided trans- 
versely into three lobes, whence they have received 
the name of Trilolites, and the whole articulated, so 
that the creature could roll itself into a ball, like the 
modern slaters or wood-lice, which are not very dis- 
tant relatives of these old crustaceans.* The limbs 
of Trilobites were long unknown, and it was even 
doubted whether they had any ; but recent discoveries 
have shown that they had small jointed limbs useful 
both for swimming and creeping. The Trilobites, 
under many specific and generic forms, range from 

* Woodward has recently suggested affinities of Trilobites 
with the Isopods or equal-footed crustaceans, on the evidence 
of a remarkable specimen with remains of feet described by 


the Primordial to the Carboniferous rocks, but are 
altogether wanting in the more recent formations and 
in the modern seas. The Trilobites lived on muddy 
bottoms, and their remains are extremely abundant 
in shaly and slaty beds, though found also in lime- 
stone and sandstone. In the latter they have left 
most curious traces of their presence in the trails 
which they have produced. Some of the most ancient 
sandstones have their surfaces covered with rows of 
punctured impressions (Protichnites, first foot-prints), 
others have strange series of transverse grooves with 
longitudinal ones at the side (Climactichnites, ladder 
foot-prints) ; others are oval burrows, marked with 
transverse lines and a ridge along the middle (Rusich- 
nites, wrinkle foot-prints). All of these so nearly 
resemble the trails and tracks of modern king-crabs 
that there can be little doubt as to their origin. 
Many curious striated grooves and bifid marks, found 
on the surfaces of Primordial beds, and which have 
been described as plants, are probably only the marks 
of the oral organs or feet of these and similar crea- 
tures, which passed their lives in grubbing for food 
in the soft, slimy ooze, though they could, no doubt, 
like the modern king-crabs, swim when necessary. 
Some still more shrimp-like creatures, Hymenocaris, 
which are found with them, certainly had this power. 

A lower type of annulose or ringed animal than that 
of the Trilobites, is that of the worms. These crea- 
tures cannot be preserved in a fossil state, except in 
the case of those which inhabit calcareous tubes : but 


the marks which their jointed bodies and numerous 
side-bristles leave on the sand and mud may, when 
buried under succeeding sediments, remain ; and ex- 
tensive surfaces of very old rocks are marked in this 
way, either with cylindrical burrows or curious trails 
with side scratches looking like pinnate leaves. These 
constitute the genus Crusiana, while others of more 
ordinary form belong to the genus Arenicolites, so 
named from the common Arenicola, or lobworm, whose 
burrows they are supposed to resemble. Markings 
referable to seaweed also occur in the Primordial rocks, 
and also some grotesque and almost inexplicable or- 
ganisms known as Oldhamia, which have been chiefly 
found in the Primordial of Ireland. One of the most 
common forms consists of a series of apparently 
jointed threads disposed in fan-like clusters on a cen- 
tral stem (Oldhamia antiqua). Another has a wider 
and simpler fan-like arrangement of filaments. These 
have been claimed by botanists as algEe, and have been 
regarded by zoologists as minute Zoophytes, while 
some more sceptical have supposed that they may be 
mere inorganic wrinklings of the beds. This last view 
does not, however, seem tenable. They are, perhaps, 
the predecessors of the curious Graptolites, which we 
shall have to represent in the Silurian. 

Singularly enough, Foraminifera, the characteristic 
fossils of the Laurentian, have been little recognised in 
the Primordial, nor are there any limestones known 
so massive as those of the former series. There are, 
however, a number of remarkable organisms, which 


have usually been described as sponges, but are more 
probably partly of the nature of sponges and partly 
of that of Foraminifera. Of this kind are some of the 
singular conical fossils described by Billings as Archceo- 
cyathus, and found in the Primordial limestone of 
Labrador. They are hollow within, with radiating 
pores and plates, calcareous in some, and in others 
with siliceous spicules like those of modern sponges. 
Some of them are several inches in diameter, and they 
must have grown rooted in muddy bottoms, in the 
manner of some of the deep-sea sponges of modern 
times. One species at least of these creatures was a 
true Foraminifer, allied, though somewhat distantly, to 
Eozoon. In some parts of the Primordial sandstones, 
curious funnel-shaped casts in sand occur, sometimes 
marked with spiral lines. The name Histioderma, -has 
been given to some of these, and they have been 
regarded as mouths of worm-burrows. Others of 
larger size have been compared to inverted stumps 
of trees. If they were produced by worms, some of 
these must have been of gigantic size, but Billings 
has recently suggested that they may be casts of 
sponges that lived like some modern species imbedded 
in the sand. In accordance with this view I have 
represented these curious objects in the engraving, 
On the whole, the life of these oldest Palaeozoic rocks 
is not very abundant ; but there are probably represen- 
tatives of three of the great subdivisions of animals 
or, as some would reckon them, of four the Protozoa, 
the Radiata (Coelenterata), the Mollusca, and the 


Annulosa. And it is most interesting thus to find in 
these very old rocks the modern subdivisions of 
animals already represented, and these by types some 
of them nearly allied to existing inhabitants of the 
seas. I have endeavoured in the engraving to repre- 
sent some of the leading forms of marine life in this 
ancient period. 

Perhaps one of the most interesting discoveries in 
these rocks is that of rain-marks and shrinkage-cracks, 
in some of the very oldest beds those of the Long- 
mynd in Shropshire. On the modern muddy beach 
any ordinary observer is familiar with the cracks 
produced by the action of the sun and air on the dried 
surfaces left by the tides. Such cracks, covered by 
the waters of a succeeding tide, may be buried in 
newer silt, and once preserved in this way are im- 
perishable. In like manner, the pits left by passing 
showers of rain on the mud recently left bare by the 
tide may, when the mud has dried, become sufficiently 
firm to be preserved. In this way we have rain-marks 
of various geological ages; but the oldest known are 
those of the Longmynd, where they are associated 
both with ripple-marks and shrinkage-cracks. We 
thus have evidence of the action of tides, of sun, and 
of rain, in these ancient periods just as in the present 
day. Were there no land animals to prowl along the 
low tidal flats in search of food ? Were there no herbs 
or trees to drink in the rains and flourish in the sun- 
shine ? If there were, no bone or footprint on the 
shore, or drifted leaf or branch, has yet revealed their 
existence to the eyes of geologists. 



The beds of the Primordial age exist in England, in 
Bohemia, in Sweden and Norway, and also in North 
America. They appear to have been deposited along 
the shores of the old Laurentian continent, and 
probably some of them indicate very deep water. 
The Primordial rocks are in many parts of the world 
altered and hardened. They have often assumed a 
slaty structure, and their bedding, and the fossils 
which they contain, are both affected by this. The 
usual view entertained as to what is called slaty struc- 
ture is, that it depends on pressure, acting on more or 
less compressible material in some direction usually 
different from that of the bedding. Such pressure has 
tbe effect of arranging all the flat particles as scales 
of mica, etc. in planes parallel to the compressing 
surface. Hence, if much material of this kind is 
present in the sediment, the whole rock assumes a 
fissile character, causing it to split readily into thin 
plates. That such yielding to pressure has actually 
taken place is seen very distinctly in microscopic 
sections of some slaty rocks, which often show not 
only a laminated structure, but an actual crumpling 
on a small scale, causing them to assume almost the 
aspect of woody fibre. Such rocks often remind a 
casual observer of decaying trunks of trees, and 
sections of them under the microscope show the most 
minute and delicate crumpling. It is also proved by 
the condition of the fossils the beds contain. These 
are often distorted, so that some of them are length- 
ened and others shortened, and if specimens were 


selected with that view, it would be quite easy to 
suppose that those lengthened by distortion are of 
different species from those distorted so as to be 
shortened. Slaty cleavage and distortion are not, 
however, confined to Primordial rocks, but occur in 
altered sediments of various ages. 

The Primordial sediments must have at one time 
been very widely distributed, and must have filled up 
many of the inequalities produced by the rending and 
contortion of the Laurentian beds. Their thicker and 
more massive portions are, however, necessarily along 
the borders of the Laurentian continents, and as they 
in their turn were raised up into land, they became 
exposed to the denuding action first of the sea, and 
afterwards of the rain and rivers, and were so exten- 
sively wasted away that only in a few regions do large 
areas of them remain visible. That of Bohemia has 
afforded to Barrande a great number of most interest- 
ing fossils. The rocks of St. David's in Wales, thoso 
of Shropshire in England, and those of Wicklow in 
Ireland are also of great interest ; and next to these 
in importance are, perhaps, the Huronian and Acadian 
groups of North America, in which continent as for 
example in Nova Scotia and in some parts of New 
England there are extensive areas of old metamor- 
phic rocks whose age has not been determined by 
fossils, but which may belong to this period. 

The question of division lines of formations is one 
much agitated in the case of the Cambrian rocks. 
Whether certain beds are to be called Cambrian or 


Silurian has been a point greatly controverted ; and 
the terms Primordial and Primordial Silurian have been 
used as means to avoid the raising of this difficulty. 
Many of our division lines in geology are arbitrary 
and conventional, and this may be the case with that 
between the Primordial and Silurian, the one age 
graduating into the other. There appears to be, how- 
ever, the best reason to recognise a distinct Cambrian 
period, preceding the two great periods, those of the 
second and third faunas of Barrande, to which the 
term Silurian is usually applied. On the other hand, 
in so far as our knowledge extends at present, a 
strongly marked line of separation exists between the 
Laurentian and Primordial, the latter resting on the 
edges of the former, which seems then to have been as 
much altered as now. Still a break of this kind may 
be, perhaps must be, merely local ; and may vary in 
amount. Thus, in some places we find rocks of Silu- 
rian and later ages resting directly on the Laurentian, 
without the intervention of the Primordial. In any 
case, where a line of coast is steadily sinking, each 
succeeding deposit will overlap that which went before; 
and this seems to have been the case with the Lauren- 
tian shore when the Primordial and Silurian were being 
deposited. Hence over large spaces the Primordial is 
absent, being probably buried up, except where exposed 
by denudation at the margin of the two formations. 

This occurs in several parts of Canada, while the 
Laurentian rocks have evidently been subjected to 
metamorphism and long-continued weathering before 


the Lower Silurian were deposited ; and in some cases 
the latter rest on weather-worn and pitted surfaces, 
and are filled with angular bits of the underlying rock, 
as well as with drift-shells which have been cast on 
these old Laurentian shores ; while in other cases the 
Silurian rests on smooth water-worn Laurentian rocks, 
and is filled at the junction with well-rounded pebbles 
and grains of sand which have evidently been subjected 
to a more thorough attrition than those of the present 
beach. With respect to the line of division between 
the Primordial and the next succeeding rocks, it will 
be seen that important movements of the continents 
occurred at the close of the Cambrian, and in some 
places the Cambrian rocks have been much disturbed 
before the deposition of the Lower Silurian. 

Seated on some ancient promontory of the Lau- 
rentian, and looking over the plain which, in the 
Primordial and Lower Silurian periods was the sea, I 
have often wished for some shred of vegetable matter 
to tell what lived on that land when the Primordial 
surf beat upon its shore, and washed up the Trilobites 
and Brachiopods of those old seas ; but no rock has 
yet taken up its parable to reveal the secret, and the 
Primordial is vocal only with the old story : " And God 
said, Let the waters swarm with swarming living 
things, and it was so." So our picture of the period 
may represent a sea-bottom swarming with animals of 
low grade, some sessile, some locomotive ; and we may 
merely suppose a distant shore with vegetation dimly 
seen, and active volcanoes ; but a shore on which no 


foot of naturalist has yet trod to scan its productions. 
Very different estimates have been formed of the 
amount of life in this period, according to the position 
given to its latest limit. Taking some of the more 
modern views of this subject, we might have included 
among the Primordial animals many additional crea- 
tures, which we prefer noticing in the Silurian, since 
it may at least be affirmed that their head-quarters 
were in that age, even if they had a beginning in the 
Primordial. It may be interesting here, however, to 
note the actual amount of life known to us in this 
period, taken in its largest scope. In doing this, 
I shall take advantage of an interesting table given by 
Dr. Bigsby,* and representing the state of knowledge 
in 1868, and shall group the species in such a manner 
as to indicate the relative abundance of distinct types 
of structure. We find then 

Plants (all, or nearly all, supposed to bo 
seaweeds, and some, probably, mere 

tracks or trails of animals) . . 22 species. 

Sponges, and similar creatures . 27 

Corals and their allies .... 6 

Starfishes and their allies 4 

Worms 29 

Trilobites and other crustaceans . . 442 

Lamp-shells and other molluscoids . 193 

Common bivalve mollusks . . 12 
Common univalve mollusks and their 

allies 172 

Higher mollusks, nautili ,cuttle-fishes,etc. 65 

In all .. .. . 972 ., 

* " Thesaurus Siluricus." 


Now in this enumeration we observe, in the first 
place, a representation of all the lower or invertebrate 
groups of the waters. We have next the remarkable 
fact that the Radiata of Cuvier, the lowest and most 
plant-like of the marine animals, are comparatively 
slenderly represented, yet that there are examples of 
their higher as well as of their lower forms. We 
have the further fact that the crustaceans, the highest 
marine animals of the annulose type, are predominant 
in the waters ; and that in the mollusks the highest 
and lowest groups are most plentiful, the middle less 
so. The whole number of species is small, and this 
may arise either from our having here reached an 
early period in the history of life, or from our in- 
formation being defective. Both are probably true. 
Still, of the animals known, we cannot say that the 
proportions of the different kinds depend on defec- 
tive knowledge. There is no reason, for example, why 
corals should not have been preserved as well as 
Trilobites, or why Brachiopods should have been 
preserved rather than ordinary bivalves. The pro- 
portions, therefore, it may be more safe to reason from 
than the aggregate. In looking at these proportions, 
and comparing them with those of modern seas, we 
are struck with the great number of species represent- 
ing some types either now extinct or comparatively 
rare: the Trilobites and Brachiopods more particularly. 
We are astonished at the enormous preponderance 
of these two groups, and especially of the Trilobites. 
Further, we observe that while some forms, like 


Lingula and Nautilus, have persisted down to modern 
times, others, like the Trilobites and Orthids, perished 
very early. In all this we can dimly perceive a 
fitness of living things to physical conditions, a 
tendency to utilise each type to the limit of its capa- 
cities for modification, and then to abandon it for 
something higher ; a tendency of low types to appear 
first, but to appear in their highest perfection and 
variety ; a sudden apparition of totally diverse plans 
of structure subserving similar ends simultaneously 
with each other, as for instance those of the Mollusk 
and the Crustacean; the appearance of optical and 
mechanical contrivances, as for example the compound 
eyes of the Trilobite and the swimming float of the 
Orthoceras, in all their perfection at first, just as they 
continue to this day in creatures of similar grade. 
That these and other similar things point to a uniform 
and far-reaching plan, no rational mind can doubt; 
and if the world had stopped short in the Primordial 
period, and attained to no further development, this 
would have been abundantly apparent ; though it 
shines forth more and more conspicuously in each 
succeeding page of the stony record. How far such 
unity and diversity can be explained by the modern 
philosophy of a necessary and material evolution out of 
mere death and physical forces, and how far it requires 
the intervention of a Creative mind, are questions 
which we may well leave with the thoughtful reader, 
till we have traced this history somewhat further. 



BY English geologists, the great series of formations 
which succeeds to the Cambrian is usually included 
under the name Silurian System, first proposed by 
Sir Eoderick Murchison. It certainly, however, con- 
sists of two distinct groups, holding the second and 
third faunas of Barrande. The older of the two, 
usually called the Lower Silurian, is the Upper 
Cambrian of Sedgwick, and may properly be called 
the Siluro-Cambrian.* The newer is the true Silurian, 
or Silurian proper the Upper Silurian of Murchison. 
We shall in this chapter, for convenience, consider 
both in connection, using occasionally the term Lower 
Silurian as equivalent to Siluro- Cambrian. The Silu- 
rian presents us with a definite physical geography, 
for the northern hemisphere at least ; and this physical 
geography is a key to the life conditions of the time. 
The North American continent, from its great un- 
broken area, affords, as usual, the best means of 
appreciating this. In this period the northern cur- 
rents, acting perhaps in harmony with old Laurentian 
outcrops, had deposited in the sea two long submarine 
ridges, running to the southward from the extreme 
ends of the Laurentian nucleus, and constituting the 
foundations of the present ridges of the Rocky 
* Ordovician of Lapworth. 


Mountains and the Alleghanies. Between these the 
extensive triangular area now constituting the greater 
part of North America, was a shallow oceanic plateau, 
sheltered from the cold polar currents by the Lauren- 
tian land on the north, and separated by the ridges 
already mentioned from the Atlantic and Pacific. It 
was on this great plateau of warm and sheltered ocean 
that what we call the Silurian fauna lived; while of 
the creatures that inhabited the depths of the great 
bounding oceans, whose abysses must have been far 
deeper and at a much lower temperature, we know 
little. During the long Silurian periods, it is true, 
the great American plateau underwent many revolu- 
tions ; sometimes being more deeply submerged, and 
having clear water tenanted by vast numbers of corals 
and shell-fishes, at others rising so as to become 
shallow and to receive deposits of sand and mud ; but 
it was always distinct from the oceanic area without. 
In Europe, in like manner, there seems to have been a 
great internal plateau bounded by the embryo hills of 
Western Europe on the west, and harbouring a very 
similar assemblage of creatures to those existing in 

Further, during these long periods there were 
great changes, from a fauna of somewhat primordial 
type up to a new order of things in the Upper Silu- 
rian, tending toward the novelties which were in- 
troduced in the succeeding Devonian and Carboni- 
ferous. We may, in the first place, sketch these 
changes as they occurred on the two great continental 


plateaus, noting as we proceed such liints as can be 
obtained with reference to the more extensive oceanic 

Before the beginning of the age, both plateaus seem 
to have been invaded by sandy and muddy sediments 
charged at some periods and places Tvith magnesian 
limestone; and these circumstances were not favour- 
able to the existence or preservation of organic 
remains. Such are the Potsdam and Calciferous 
beds of America and the Tremadoc and Llandeilo 
beds of England. The Potsdam and Tremadoc are by 
their fossils included in the Cambrian, and may at least 
be regarded as transition groups. It is further to be 
observed, in the case of these beds, that if we begin 
at the west side of Europe and proceed easterly, or 
at the east side of America and proceed westerly, they 
become progressively thinner, the greater amount of 
material being deposited at the edges of the future 
continents ; just as on the sides of a muddy tideway 
the flats are higher, and the more coarse sediment de- 
posited near the margin of the channel, and fine mud 
is deposited at a greater distance and in thinner beds. 
The cause, however, on the great scale of the Atlantic, 
was somewhat different, ancient ridges determining 
the border of the channel. This statement holds 
good not only of these older beds, but of the whole 
of the Silurian, and of the succeeding Devonian and 
Carboniferous, all deposited on these same plateaus. 
Thus, in the case of the Silurian in England and 
Wales, the wh'ole series is more than 20,000 feet 


thick, but in Russia, it is less than 1,000 feet. In 
the eastern part of America the thickness is estimated 
at quite as great an amount as in Europe, while in the 
region of the Mississippi the Silurian rocks are scarcely 
thicker than in Russia, and consist in great part of 
limestones and fine sediments, the sandstones and 
conglomerates thinning out rapidly eastward of the 
Appalachian Mountains. 

In both plateaus the earlier period of coarse accu- 
mulations was succeeded by one in which was clear 
wa*er depositing little earthy sediment, and this 
usually fine ; and in which the sea swarmed with 
animal life, from the debris of which enormous beds 
of limestone were formed the Trenton limestone of 
America and the Bala limestone of Europe. The 
fossils of this part of the series open up to us the 
head- quarters of Lower Silurian life, the second great 
fauna of Barrande, that of the Upper Cambrian of 
Sedgwick; and in America more especially, the 
Trenton and its associated limestones can be traced 
over forty degrees of longitude ; and throughout the 
whole of this space its principal beds are composed 
entirely of comminuted corals, shells, and crinoids, 
and studded with organisms of the same kinds still re- 
taining their forms. Out of these seas, in the Euro- 
pean area, arose in places volcanic isletfj, like those oi 
the modern Pacific. 

In the next succeeding era the clear waters became 
again invaded with muddy and sandy sediments, in 
various alternations, and with occasional bands of lime- 


stone, constituting the Caradoc beds of Britain and 
the Utica and Hudson River groups of America. 
During the deposition of these, the abounding life of 
the Siluro-Cambrian plateaus died away, and a middle 
group of sandstones and shales, the Oneida and Medina 
of America and the Mayhill of England, form the base 
of the Upper Silurian. 

But what was taking place meanwhile in the oceanic 
areas separating our plateaus ? These were identical 
with the basins of the Atlantic and Pacific, which 
already existed in this period as depressions of the 
earth's crust, perhaps not so deep as at present. As 
to the deposits in their deeper portions we know 
nothing ; but on the margin of the Atlantic area are 
some rocks which give us at least a little information. 

In the earlier part of the Silurian period the enor- 
mous thickness of the Quebec group of North America 
appears to represent a broad stripe of deep water 
parallel to the eastern edge of the American plateau, 
and in which an immense thickness of beds of sand 
and mud was deposited with very few fossils, except 
in particular beds, and these of a more primordial 
aspect than those of the plateau itself. These rocks 
no doubt represent the margin of a deep Atlantic 
area, over which cold currents destructive of life were 
constantly passing, and in which great quantities of 
sand and mud, swept from the icy regions of the 
North, were continually being laid. The researches 
of Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Wyville Thomson show us 
that there are at present cold areas in the deeper 


parts of the Atlantic, on the European side, as we 
have long known that they exist at less depths on the 
American side ; and these same researches, with the 
soundings on the American banks, show that sand 
and gravel may be deposited not merely on shallows, 
but in the depths of the ocean, provided that these 
depths are pervaded by cold and heavy currents 
capable of eroding the bottom, and of moving coarse 
material. The Quebec group in Canada and the 
United States, and the metalliferous Lower Silurian 
rocks of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, destitute of 
great marine limestones and coral reefs, evidently 
represent deep and cold-water areas on the border 
of the Atlantic plateau. 

At a later period, the beginning of the Upper Si- 
lurian, the richly fossiliferous and exceptional deposits 
of the Island of Anticosti, formed in the deep 
hollow of the Gulf of St. Laurence, show that when 
the plateau had become shallowed up by deposition 
and elevation, and converted into desolate sandbanks, 
the area of abundant life was transferred to the still 
deep Atlantic basin and its bordering bays, in which 
the forms of Lower Silurian life continued to exist 
until they were mixed up with those of the Upper 

If we turn now to these latter rocks, and IE {uire 
as to their conditions on our two great plateaus, we 
shall find a repetition of changes similar to those which 
occurred in the times preceding. The sandy shallows 
of the earlier part of this period give place to wide 


oceanic areas similar to those of the Lower Silurian, 
In these we find vast and thick coral and shell lime- 
stones, the Wenlock of England and Niagara of Ameri- 
ca, as rich in life as the limestones of the Lower Silu- 
rian, and with the generic and family forms similar, 
but the species for the most part different. In America 
these limestones were followed by a singularly shallow 
condition of the plateau, in which the surface was so 
raised as at times to be converted into separate salt 
lakes in which beds of salt were deposited. On both 
plateaus there were alternations of oceanic and shal- 
low conditions, under which the Lower Helderberg 
and Ludlow beds, the closing members of the Silu- 
rian, were laid down. Of the Atlantic beds of this 
period we know little, except that the great lime- 
stones appear to te wanting, and to be replaced by 
sandy and muddy deposits, in some parts at least of 
the margins of the area. In some portions also of 
the plateaus and their margins, extensive volcanic 
outbursts seem to have occurred ; so that the Ameri- 
can plateau presented, at least in parts, the aspect of 
a coral sea with archipelagoes of volcanic islands, the 
ejections from which became mixed with the aqueous 
deposits forming around them. 

Having thus traced the interesting series of geo- 
graphical conditions indicated by the Silurian series, 
we may next take our station on one of the submerged 
plateaus, and inquire as to the new forms of life now 
introduced to our notice ; and in doing so shall include 
the life of both the Lower and Upper Silurian. 


First, we may remark the vast abundance and 
variety of corals. The polyps, close relatives of the 
common sea-anemone of our coasts, which build up 
our modern coral reefs, were represented in the Silu- 
rian seas by a great number of allied yet different 
forms, equally effectual in the great work of secreting 
carbonate of lime in stony masses, and therefore in 

Fig. 9. Fragment of Lower Silurian Limestone, sliced and magnified ten 
diameters, showing the manner in which it is made up of fragments of corals, 
crinoids, and shells. (From a paper on the Microscopic Structure of Canadian 
limestone, " Canadian Naturalist.") 

the building-up of continents. Let us note some of 
the differences. In the first place, whereas our modern 
coral-workers can show us but the topmost pinnacles 
of their creations, peeping above the surface of the 


sea in coral reefs and islands, the work of the coral 
animals of the Silurian has been finished, by these 
limestones being covered with masses of new sediment 
consolidated into hard rock, and raised out of the sea 
to constitute a part of the dry land. In the Silurian 
limestones we thus have, not merely the coral reefs, 
but the wide beds of comminuted coral, mixed with 
the remains of other animals, which are necessarily 
accumulated in the ocean bed around the reefs and 
islands. Further, these beds, which we might find 
loose and unconsolidated in the modern sea, have their 
fragments closely cemented together in the old lime- 
stones. The nature of this difference can be well 
seen by comparing a fragment of modern coral or 
shell limestone from Bermuda, with a similar fragment 
of the Trenton limestone, both being sliced for exami- 
nation under the microscope. The old limestone is black 
or greyish, the modern one is nearly white, because in 
the former the organic matter in the animal fragments 
has been carbonised or converted into coaly and bitu- 
minous matter. The old limestone is much more 
dense and compact, partly because its materials have 
been more closely compressed by superincumbent 
weight, but chiefly because calcareous matter in solu- 
tion in water has penetrated all the interstices, and 
filled them up 'with a deposit of crystalline limestone. 
In examining a slice, however, under the microscope, 
it will be seen that the fragments of corals and other 
organisms are as distinct and well preserved as in the 
crumbling modern rock, except that they are perfectly 


imbedded in a paste of clear transparent limestone, or 
rather calcareous spar, infiltrated between them. 1 
have examined great numbers of slices of these lime- 
stones, ever with new wonder at the packing of the 
organic fragments which they present. The hard 
marble-like limestones used for building in the Silu- 
rian districts of Europe and America, are thus in most 
cases consolidated masses of organic fragments. 

In the next place, the animals themselves must have 
differed somewhat from their modern successors. This 
we gather from the structure of their stony cells, 
which present points of difference indicating corre- 
sponding difference of detail in the soft parts. Zoolo- 
gists thus separate the rugose or wrinkled corals and 
the tabulate or floored corals of the Silurian from those 
of the modern seas. The former must have been 
more like the ordinary coral animals ; the latter were 
very peculiar, more especially in the close union of the 
cells, and in the transverse floors which they were in 
the habit of building across these cells as they grew 
in height. They presented, however, all the forms of 
our modern corals. Some were rounded and massive 
in form, others delicate and branching. Some were 
solitary or detached, others aggregative in communi- 
ties. Some had the individual animals large and pro- 
bably showy, others had them of microscopic size. 
Perhaps the most remarkable of all is the American 
Beatricea,* which grew like a great trunk of a tree 

* First described by Mr. Billings. It has been regarded as 
a plant, and as a cephalopod shell ; but I believe it was a corai 
allied to Cyatiphyllum. 


twenty feet or more in height, its solitary animal at 
the top like a pillar-saint, though no doubt more ap- 
propriate and comfortable; and multitudes of delicate 
and encrusting corals clinging like mosses or lichens 
to its sides. This creature belongs to the very middle 
of the Silurian, and must have lived in great depths, 
undisturbed by swell or breakers, and sheltering vast 
multitudes of other creatures in its stony colonnades. 
Lastly, the Silurian corals flourished in latitudes 
more boreal than their modern representatives. .In 
both hemispheres as far north as Silurian limestones 
have been traced, well-developed corals have been 
found. On the great plateaus sheltered by Laurentian 
ridges to the north, and exposed to the sun and to the 
warmer currents of the equatorial regions, they flou- 
rished most grandly and luxuriantly : but they lived 
also north of the Laurentian bands in the Arctic Sea 
basins, though probably in the shallower and more 
sheltered parts. Undoubtedly the geographical ar- 
rangements of the Silurian period contributed to this. 
We have already seen how peculiarly adapted to an 
exuberant marine life were the submerged continents 
of the period ; and there was probably little Arctic 
land producing icebergs to chill the seas. The great 
Arctic currents, which then as now flowed powerfully 
toward the equator, must have clung to the deeper 
parts of the ocean basins, while the return waters from 
the equator would spread themselves widely over the 
surface ; so that wherever the Arctic Seas presented 
areas , little elevated out of the cold water bottom, 


there might be suitable abodes for coral animals. It 
has been supposed that in the Silurian period the sea 
might have derived some appreciable heat from the 
crust of the earth below, and astronomical conditions 
have been suggested as tending to produce changes of 
climate ; but it is evident that whatever weight may be 
due to these causes, the observed geographical condi- 
tions are sufficient to account for the facts of the case. 
It is also to be observed, that we cannot safely infer 
the requirements as to temperature of Silurian coral 
animals from those of the tenants of the modern ocean. 
In the modern seas many forms of life thrive best 
and grow to the greatest size in the colder seas ; and 
in the later tertiary period there were elephants and 
rhinoceroses sufficiently hardy to endure the rigours 
of an Arctic climate. So there may have been in the 
Silurian seas corals of much less delicate constitution 
than those now living. 

Next to the corals we may place the crinoids, or 
stone-lilies creatures abounding throughout the Silu- 
rian seas, and realizing a new creative idea, to be 
expanded in subsequent geological time into all the 
multifarious types of star-fishes and sea-urchins. A 
typical crinoid, such as the Glyptocrir.tis of the Lower 
Silurian, consists of a flexible jointed stem, sometimes 
several feet in length, composed of short cylindrical 
discs, curiously articulated together, a box-like body 
on top made up of polygonal pieces attached to each 
other at the edges, and five radiating jointed arms 
furnished with branches and branchlets, or fringes, all 


articulated and capable of being flexed in any direc- 
tion. Such a creature has more the aspect of a flower 
than of an animal ; yet it is really an animal, and sub- 
sists by collecting with its arms and drifting into its 
mouth minute creatures floating in the water. Ano- 
ther group, less typical, but abundantly represented in 
the Silurian seas, is that of the Cystideans, in which 
the body is sack-like, and the arms few and sometimes 
attached to the body. They resemble the young or 
larvae of crinoids. In the modern seas the crinoids 
are extremely few, though dredging in very deep 
water has recently added to the number of known 
species; but in the Silurian period they had their 
birth, and attained to a number and perfection not 
afterwards surpassed. Perhaps the stone-lilies of the 
Upper Silurian rocks of Dudley, in England, are the' 
most beautiful of Palaeozoic animals. Judging from 
the immense quantities of their remains in some lime- 
stones, wide areas of the sea bottom must have been 
crowded with their long stalks and flower-like bodies, 
presenting vast submarine fields of these stony water- 

Passing over many tribes of mollusks, continued or 
extended from the Primordial and merely remarking 
that the lamp-shells and the ordinary bivalve and 
univalve shell-fishes are all represented largely, more 
especially the former group, in the Silurian we come 
to the highest of the Moll u sea, represented in our seas 
by the cuttle-fishes and nautili, creatures which, like 
the crinoids, may be said to have had their birth in 


the Silurian, and to have there attained to some of 
their grandest forms. The modern pearly nautilus 
shell, well known in every museum, is beautifully 
coiled in a disc-like form, and when sliced longitudi- 
nally shows a series of partitions dividing it into 
chambers, air-tight, and serving as a float to render 
the body of the creature independent of the force of 
gravity. As the animal grows it retracts its body 
toward the front of the shell, and forms new par- 
titions, so that the buoyancy of the float always 
corresponds with the weight of the animal; while by 
the expansion and contraction of the body and removal 
of water from a tube or syphon which traverses the 
chambers, or the injection of additional water, slight 
differences can be effected, rendering the creature a 
' very little lighter or heavier than the medium in 
which it swims. Thus practically delivered from the 
encumbrance of weight, and furnished with long 
flexible arms provided with suckers, with great eyes 
and a horny beak, the nautilus becomes one of the 
tyrants of the deep, creeping on the bottom or 
swimming on the surface at will, and everywhere 
preying on whatever animals it can master. Fortu- 
nately for us, as well as for the more feeble inhabit- 
ants of the sea, the nautili are not of great size, 
though some of their allies, the cuttle-fishes, which, 
however, want the floating apparatus, are sufficiently 
powerful to be formidable to man. In the Silurian 
period, however, there were not only nautili like ours, 
but a peculiar kind of straight nautilus the Orthocer- 


atites which sometimes attained to gigantic size. The 
shells of these creatures may be compared to those of 
nautili straightened out, the chambers being placed in 
a direct line in front of each other. A great number 
of species have been discovered, many quite insignifi- 
cant in size, but others as much as twelve feet in 
length and a foot in diameter at the larger end. 
Indeed, accounts have been given of individuals of 
much larger growth. These large Orthoceratites were 
the most powerful marine animals known to us in the 
Silurian, and must have been in those days the tyrants 
of the seas.* 

.Among the crustaceans, or soft shell-fishes of the 
Silurian, we meet with the Trilob'dcs, continued from 
the Primordial in great and increasing force, and 
represented by many and beautiful species; while, 
an allied group of shell-fishes of low organization but 
gigantic size, the Eurypterids, characteristic of the 
Upper Silurian, were provided with powerful limbs, 
long flexible bodies, and great eyes in the front of 
the head, and were sometimes several feet in length. 
Instead of being mud grovellers, like the Trilobites 
and modern king-crabs, these Evrypteridg must have 
been swimmers, careering rapidly through the water, 
and probably active and predaceous. There were 

* Zoologists will observe that I Lave, in the illustration, 
given the Orthoceras the arms rather of a cuttle-fish than of a 
nautilus. The form of the outer chamber of the shell, I 
think, warrants this view of the structure of the animal, which 
must have been formed on a very comprehensive type. 


also great multitudes of those little crustaceans which 
are inclosed in two horny or shelly valves like a 
bivalve shell-fish, and the remains of which sometimes 
fill certain beds of Silurian shale and limestone. 

No remains found in the Silurian rocks have been 
more fertile sources of discussion than the so-called 
Graptolites, or written stones a name given long ago 
by Linnaeus, in allusion to the resemblance of some 
species having rows of cells on one side, to minute 
lines of writing. These little bodies usually appear 
as black coaly stains on the surface of the rock, 
showing a slender stem or stalk, with a row of little 
projecting cells at one side, or two rows, one on 
each side. The more perfect specimens show that, in 
many of the species at least, these fragments were 
branches of a complex organism spreading from a 
centre; and at this centre there is sometimes per- 
ceived a sort of membrane connecting the bases of 
the branches, and for which various uses have been 
conjectured. The branches themselves vary much in 
different species. They may be simple or divided, 
narrow, or broad and leaf-like, with one row of cells, 
or two rows of cells. Hence arise generic distinc- 
tions into single and double graptolites, leaf and tree 
graptolites, net graptolites, and so on. But while it 
is easy to recognise these organisms, and to classify 
them in species and genera, it is not so easy to say 
what their affinities are with modern things. They 
are exclusively Silurian, disappearing altogether at 
the close of this period, and, so far as we know, not 


succeeded by any similar creatures serving to connect 
them with modem forms. Hence the most various 
conjectures as to their nature. They have been sup- 
posed to be plants, and have been successively re- 
ferred to most of the great divisions of the lower 
animals. Most recently they have been regarded by 
Hall, Nicholson,* and others, who have studied them 
most attentively, as zoophytes or hydroids allied to the 
Sertulariae, or tooth-corallines and sea-fir-corallines of 
our coasts, to the cell-bearing branches of which their 
fragments bear a very close resemblance. In this 
case, each of the little cells or teeth at the sides of 
the fibres must have been the abode of a little polyp, 
stretching out its tentacles into the water, and en- 
joying a common support and nutrition with the 
other polyps ranged with it. Still the mode of life 
of the community of branching stems is uncertain. 
In some species there is a little radicle or spike at 
the base of the main stem, which may have been a 
means of attachment. In others the hollow central 
disk has been conjectured to have served as a float. 
Occurring as the specimens do usually in shales and 
slates, which must have been muddy beds, they could 
not have been attached to stones or rocks, and the^ 
inust have lived in clear water, either seated on the 
surface of the mud, attached to sea-weeds, or floating 
freely by means of hollow disks filled with air. After 
much thought on their structure and mode of oc- 

See also an able paper by Carruthers, in the Geological 
Magazine, vol. v., p. 64. 


currence, I am inclined to believe that in their 
younger stages they were attached, but by a very 
slender thread; that at a more advanced stage they 
became free, and acquiring a central membranous 
disk filled with air, floated by means of this at the 
surface, their long branches trailing in the waters 
below. They would thus be, with reference to their 
mode of life, though not to the details of their 
structure, prototypes of the modern Portuguese man- 
of-war, which now drifts so gaily over the surface of 
the warmer seas. I have represented them in this 
attitude ; but in case I should be mistaken, the reader 
may imagine it possible that they may be adhei'ing 
to the lower surface of floating tangle. The head- 
quarters of the Graptolites seem to be in the upper 
part of the Cambrian, and in the Siluro- Cambrian, 
and they are widely distributed in Europe, in 
America, and in Australia. This very wide distribu- 
tion of the species is probably connected with their 
floating and oceanic habits. 

Lastly, just as the Silurian period was passing 
away, we find a new thing in the earth vertebrate 
animals, represented by several species of primitive 
fishes, which came in here as forerunners of the 
dynasty of the vertebrates, which from that day to 
this have been the masters of the world. These 
earliest vertebrates are especially interesting as the 
first known examples of a plan of structure which 
culminates only in man himself. They appear to 
have had cartilaginous skeletons ; and in this and 


their shagreen -like skin, strong bony spines, and 
trenchant teeth, to have much resembled our modern 
sharks, or rather the dog-fishes, for they were of 
small size. One genus (Pteraspis), apparently the 
oldest of the whole, belongs, however, to a tribe of 
mailed fishes allied to some of those of the old red 
sandstone. In both cases the groups of fishes repre- 
senting the first known appearance of the vertebrates 
were allied to tribes of somewhat high organization 
in that class ; and they asserted their claims to domi- 
nancy by being predaceous and carnivorous creatures, 
which must have rendered themselves formidable 
to their invertebrate contemporaries. Coprolites, or 
fossil masses of excrement, which are found with 
them, indicate that they chased and devoured ortho- 
ceratites and sea-snails of various kinds, and snapped 
Lingula3 and crinoids from their stalks ; and we can 
well imagine that these creatures, when once intro- 
duced, found themselves in rich pasture and increased 
accordingly. Space prevents us from following further 
our pictures of the animal life of the great Silurian 
era, the monuments of which were first discovered 
by two of England's greatest geologists, Murchison 
and Sedgwick. How imperfect such a notice must 
be, may be learned from the fact that Dr. Bigsby, in 
his "Thesaurus Siluricus/' in 1868, catalogues 8,897 
Silurian species, while only 972 are known in the 

Our illustration, carefully studied, may do more to 
present to the reader the teeming swarms of the 


Silurian seas than our word -picture, and it includes 
many animal forms not mentioned above, more especi- 
ally the curved and nautilus-like cuttle-fishes, those 
singular molluscous swimmers by fin or float known 
to zoologists as violet-snails, winged-snails or ptero- 
pods, and carinarias ; and which, under various forms, 
have existed from the Silurian to the present time. 
The old Lingulce are also there as well as in the 
Primordial, while the fishes and the land vegetation 
belong, as far as we yet know, exclusively to the 
Upper Silurian, and point forward to the succeeding 
Devonian. The only Silurian land animals yet 
known are scorpions and insects. But our knowledge 
cf land plants, though very meagre, is important. 
Without regarding such obscure and uncertain forms 
as the Eophyton of Sweden, Hooker, Page, and 
Barrande have noticed, in the Upper Silurian, plants 
allied to the Lycopods or club-mosses. I have 
found in the same deposits another group of plants 
allied to Lycopcds and pill-worts (Psilophyton), and 
remains of wood representing the curious and 
primitive type of pine-like trees known as Proto- 
taxitex, fragments of the wood of which have been 
found by Hicks in beds at the base of the Upper 
Silurian ; while in America, Claypole and Lesquereux 
have described plants, probably allied to club-mosses, 
from beds quite as old. A still older plant, possibly 
allied to the mares'-tails, has been found by Nichol- 
son in the Skiddaw beds. 

In the Silurian, as in the Cambrian, the head- 
quarters of animal life wen* in the sea. Perhaps there 


was no animal life on the land ; but here our knowledge 
may be at fault. It is, however, interesting to observe 
the continued operation of the creative fiat, "Let 
the waters swarm with swarmers," which, beginning 
to be obeyed in the Eozoic age, passes down through 
all the periods of geological time to the " moving 
things innumerable " of the modern ocean. Can we 
infer anything further as to the laws of creation from 
these Silurian multitudes of living things ? One thing 
we can see plainly, that the life of the Silurian is 
closely related to that of the Cambrian. The same 
generic and ordinal forms are continued. Even some 
species may be identical. Does this indicate direct 
genetic connection, or only like conditions in the 
external world correlated with likeness in the organic 
world ? It indicates both. First, it is in the highest 
degree probable that many of the animals of the Lower 
Silurian are descendants of those of the Cambrian. 
Sometimes these descendants may be absolutely 
unchanged. Sometimes they may appear as distinct 
varieties. Sometimes they may have been regarded 
as distinct though allied species. The continuance in 
this manner of allied forms of life is necessarily related 
to the continuance of somewhat similar conditions 
of existence, while chang-es in type imply changed 
external conditions. But is this all ? I think not ; 
for there are forms of life in the Silurian which cannot 
be traced to the Cambrian, and which relate to new 
and even prospective conditions, which the unaided 
powers of the animals of the earlier period could 


not have provided for. These new forms require the 
intervention of a higher power, capable of correlating 
the physical and organic conditions of one period with 
those of succeeding periods. Whatever powers may 
be attributed to natural selection or to any other con- 
ceivable cause of merely genetic evolution, surely pro- 
phetic gifts cannot be claimed for it ; and the life of all 
these geological periods is full of mute prophecies to 
be read only in the light of subsequent fulfilments. 

The fishes of the Upper Silurian are such a 
prophecy. They can claim no parentage in the older 
rocks, and they appear at once as kings of their class. 
With reference to the Silurian itself, they are of little 
consequence ; and in the midst of its gigantic forms 
of invertebrate life they seem almost misplaced. But 
they predict the coining Devonian, and that long and 
varied reign of vertebrate life which culminates in man 
himself. No such prophetic ideas are represented by 
tho giant crustaceans and cuttle-fishes and swarming 
graptolites. They had already attained their maxi- 
mum, and were destined to a speedy and final grave in 
the Silurian, or to be perpetuated only in decaying 
families whose poverty is rendered more conspicuous 
by the contrast with the better days gone by. The 
law of creation provided for new types, and at once for 
the elevation and degradation of them when introduced; 
and all this with reference to the physical conditions 
not of the present only but of the future. Such facts, 
which cannot be ignored save by the wilfully blind, are 
beyond the reach of any merely material philosophy. 


The little that we know of Silurian plants is as 
eloquent of plan and creation as that which we can 
learn of animals. I saw not long ago a series of 
genealogies in geological time reduced to tabular form 
by that ingenious but imaginative physiologist, 
Haeckel. In one of these appeared the imaginary 
derivation of the higher plants from Algae or sea-weeds. 
Nothing could more curiously contradict actual facts. 
Algas were apparently in the Silurian neither more nor 
less elevated than in the modern seas, and those forms 
of vegetable life which may seem to bridge over 
the space between them and the land plants in the 
modern period, are wanting in the older geological 
periods, while land plants seem to start at once into 
being in the guise of club-mosses, a group by no 
means of low standing. Our oldest land plants thus 
represent one of the highest types of that cryptogamous 
series to which they belong, and moreover are better 
developed examples of that type than those now exist- 
ing. We may say, if we please, that all the connecting 
links have been lost; but this is begging the whole 
question, since nothing but the existence of such links 
could render the hypothesis of derivation possible. 
Further, the occurrence of any number of successive 
yet distinct species would not be the kind of chain 
required, or rather would not be a chain at all. 

Yet in some respects development is obvious in 
creation. Old forms of life are often embryonic, 01 
resemble the young of modern animals, but enlarged 
and exaggerated, as if they had overgrown themselves 


and Lad prematurely become adult. Old forms are 
often generalized, or less specific in their adaptations 
than those of modern times. There is less division of 
labour among them. Old forms sometimes not only 
rise to the higher places in their groups, but usurp 
attributes which in later times are restricted to their 
betters. Old forms are often gigantic in size in com- 
parison with their modern successors, which, if they 
could look back on their predecessors, might say, 
" There were giants in those days." Some old forms 
have gone onward in successive stages of elevation by 
a regular and constant gradation. Others have re- 
mained as they were through all the ages. Some have 
no equals in their groups in modern days. All these 
things speak of order, but of order along with develop- 
ment, and this development not evolution ; unless by 
this term we understand the emergence into material 
facts of the plans of the creative mind. These plans 
we may hope in some degree to understand, though we 
may not be able to comprehend the mode of action of 
creative power any more than the mode in which our 
own thought and will act upon the machinery of 
our own nerves. Still, the power is not the less real, 
that we are ignorant of its mode of operation. The 
wind bloweth whither it listeth, and we feel its 
strength, though we may not be able to calculate the 
wind of to-morrow or the winds of last year. So is the 
topirit of God when it breathes into animals the breath 
of life, or the Almighty word when it says, " Let the 
waters bring forth." 



PARADOXICAL as it may appear, this period of geological 
history has been held as of little account, and has ever 
been by some geologists regarded as scarcely a distinct 
age, just because it was one of the most striking an d 
important of the whole. The Devonian was an age of 
change and transition, in both physical and organic 
existence ; and an age which introduced, in the 
Northern hemisphere at least, more varied conditions 
of land and water and climate than had previously 
existed. Hence, over large areas of our continents, 
its deposits are irregular and locally diverse; and 
the duration and importance of the period are to be 
measured rather by the changes and alterations of 
previous formations, and the ejection of masses oE 
molten rock from beneath, than by a series of fossil - 
iferous deposits. Nevertheless, in some regions in 
North America and Eastern Europe, the formations of 
this era are of vast extent and volume, those of North 
America being estimated at the enormous thickness of 
15,000 feet, while they are spread over areas of almost 
continental breadth. 

At the close of the Upper Silurian, the vast con- 
tinental plateaus of the northern hemisphere were 
almost wholly submerged. No previous marine lime- 



stone spreads more widely than that of the Upper 
Silurian, and in no previous period have we much less 
evidence of the existence of dry land ; yet before the 
end of the period we observe, in a few fragments 
of land plants scattered here and there in the marine 
limestones evidence that islands rose amid the waste 
of waters. As it is said that the sailors of Columbus 
saw the first indications of the still unseen Western 
Continent in drift canes, and fragments of trees float- 
ing in mid ocean, so the voyager through the Silurian 
seas finds his approach to the verdant shores of the 
Devonian presaged by a few drift plants borne from 
shores yet below the horizon. The small remains 
of land in the Upper Silurian were apparently limited 
to certain clusters of islands in the north-eastern part 
of America and north-western part of Europe, with 
perhaps some in the intervening Atlantic On these 
limited surfaces grew the first land plants certainly 
known to us herbs and trees allied to the modern 
club- mosses, and perhaps forests of trees allied to the 
pines, though of humbler type ; and this wide Upper 
Silurian sea, with archipelagos of wooded islands, may 
have continued for a long time. But with the begin- 
ning of the Devonian, indications of an unstable 
condition of the earth's crust began to develop them- 
selves. New lands were upheaved; great shallow, 
muddy, and sandy flats were deposited around them ; 
the domains of corals and sea- weeds were contracted ; 
and on banks, and in shallows and estuaries, there 
swarmed shoals of fishes of many species, and some of 


them of most remarkable organization. On the 
margins of these waters stretched vast swamps, 
covered with a rank vegetation. 

But the period was one of powerful igneous 
activity. Volcanoes poured out their molten rocks 
over sea and land, and injected huge dykes of trap 
into the newly-formed beds. The land was shaken 
with earthquake throes, and was subject to many 
upheavals and subsidences. Violent waves desolated 
the coasts, throwing sand and gravel over the flats, 
and tearing up newly-deposited beds ; and poisonous 
exhalations, or sudden changes of level, often proved 
fatal to immense shoals of fishes. This was the 
time of the Lower Devonian, and it is marked, both 
in the old world and the new, by extensive deposits 
of sandstones and conglomerates. 

But the changes going on at the surface were only 
symptomatic of those occurring beneath. The im- 
mense accumulations of Silurian sediment had by 
this time so overweighted certain portions of the 
crust, that great quantities of aqueous sediment had 
been pressed downward into the heated bowels of 
the earth, and were undergoing, under an enormous 
weight of superincumbent material, a process of bak- 
ing and semi-fusion. This process was of course ex- 
tremely active along tho margins of the old Silurian 
plateaus, and led to great elevation of land, while in 
the more central parts of the plateaus the oceanic con- 
ditions still continued; and in the Middle Devonian, 
in America at least, one of the most remarkable and 


interesting coral limestones in the world the corni- 
ferous limestone was deposited. In process of time, 
however, these clear waters became shallow, and were 
invaded by muddy sediments ; and in the Upper 
Devonian the swarapy flats and muddy shallows return 
in full force, and in some degree anticipate the still 
greater areas of this kind which existed in the suc- 
ceeding Coal formation. 

Such is a brief sketch of the Devonian, or, as it may 
be better called in America, from the vast develop- 
ment of its beds on the south side of Lake Erie, the 
Erian formation. In America the marine beds of 
the Devonian were deposited on the same great con- 
tinental plateau which supported the seas of the 
Upper and Lower Silurian, and the beds were thicker 
towards the east and thinned towards the west, as in 
the case of the older series. But in the Devonian 
there was much land in the north-east of America ; 
and on the eastern margin of this land, as in Gaspe 
and New Brunswick, the deposits throughout the 
whole period were sandstones and shales, without 
the great coral limestones of the central plateau. 
Something of the same kind occurred in Europe, 
where, however, the area of Devonian sea was smaller. 
There the fossiliferous limestones of the Middle 
Devonian in Devon, in the Eifel district, in France 
and in Russia, represent the great corniferous lime- 
stone of America; while the sandstones of South 
Wales, of Ireland, and of Scotland, resemble the 
local conditions of Gaspe and New Brunswick, and 



belonged to a similar area in the north-west of. 
Europe, in which shallow water and land conditions 
prevailed during the whole of the Devonian, and 
which was perhaps connected with the corresponding 
region in Eastern America by a North Atlantic archi- 
pelago, now submerged. This whole subject is so 
important to the knowledge of the Devonian, and of 
geology in general, that I may be pardoned for 
introducing it here in a tabular form, taking the 
European series from Etheridge's excellent and 
exhaustive paper in the "Journal of the Geological 





Rben. Prussia. 

New Tork. 


Pilton group : 
Brown calcareous 

Clymenia, Cypri- 
dina, etc. Shales, 

Chemungand Port- 
age. Sandstones 

Upper 4 

shales, brown and 

limestones, and 

and shales. 

uppci -\ 

yellow sandstone. 


Plants and marine 

Land plants and 

Plants and ma- 



marine shells. 

rine shells. 

Ilfracombe group :- 

Eifel limestone, 

Hamilton shales, 

Grey and red sand- 

Calceola shales, 

and Corniferous 

stones and flags, 
calcareous slates 

Corals, shells, etc. 

or cherty lime- 

and limestones, 

Many corals and j 


with corals, etc. 

shells, also plants. 

Lynton group : 

Coblentz and Wis- 

Schoharie and 

Red and purple 

senbach shales, 

Caudagalli grits. 

sandstones. Ma- 

Rhenish grey- 

Oriskany sand- 

rine shells, etc. 

wacke, Spirifer 



Marine shells. 

Marine shells. 





Upper - 



Gaspe and New 

Yellow and red 
Fishes and plants. 

Yellow and red 
sandstones, etc. 
Plants, fishes, etc. 

Red and grey 
sandstones, grits 
and shales, and 
conglomerates of 
Gaspo and Mis- 
peck. Plants. : 


Red shales and 
sandstones, and 
Caithness flags. 
Fishes and plants. 

Grits and sand- 
stones of Dingle. 

Grey and Red 
sandstones, and 
grey and dark 
shales. GaspS 
and St. John. 
Many plants and 



Flagstones, shales 
and conglomer- 
Fishes and plants. 

Glengariff grits, 

Sandstone and 
Plants and fishes. 
Gaspe and St. 

A glance at this table suffices to show that when 
we read Hugh Miller's graphic descriptions of the 
Old Eed Sandstone of Scotland, with its numerous 
and wonderful fishes, we have before us a formation 
altogether distinct from that of Devonshire or the 
Eifel. But the one represents the shallow, and the 
other the deeper seas of the same period. We 
learn this by careful tracing of the beds to their junc- 
tion with corresponding series, and by the occasional 
occurrence of the characteristic fishes of the Scottish 
strata in the English and German beds. In like 
manner a geologist who explores the Gaspe sand- 
stones or the New Brunswick shales has uider his 


consideration a group of beds very dissimilar from 
that which he would have to study on the shores of 
Lake Erie. But here again identity of relations to 
the Silurian below and the carboniferous above, 
shows the contemporaneousness of the beds, and this 
is confirmed by the occurrence in both series of some 
of the same plants and shells and fishes. 

It will further be observed that it is in the 
middle that the greatest difference occurs. Sand and 
mud and pebble-banks were almost universal over 
our two great continental plateaus in the Older and 
Newer Devonian. But in the Middle there were in 
some places deeper waters with coral reefs, in others 
shallow flats and swamps rich in vegetation. Herein 
we see the greater variety and richness of the De- 
vonian. Had we lived in that age, we should not 
have seen great continents like those that now exist, 
but wo could have roamed over lovely islands with 
breezy hills and dense lowland jungles, and we could 
have sailed over blue coral seas, glowing below with 
all the fanciful forms and brilliant colours of polyp 
life, and filled with active and beautiful fishes. 
Especially did all these conditions culminate in the 
Middle Devonian, when what are now the continental 
areas of the northern hemisphere must have much 
resembled the present insular and oceanic reigons 
of the South Pacific. 

Out of the rich and varied life of the Devonian I 
may select for illustration its corals, its crustaceans, 
its fishes, its plants, and its insects. 


The central limestones of the Devonian may be 
regarded as the head-quarters of the peculiar types 
of coral characteristic of the Palaeozoic age. Here 
they were not only vastly numerous, but present 
some of their grandest and also their most peculiar 
forms. Edwards and Haime, in their " Monograph 
of British Fossil Corals," in 1854, enumerate one 
hundred and fifty well-ascertained species, and the 
number has since been largely increased. Dr. Bigsby, 
in 1878, catalogues two hundred and sixteen species 
in America, and two hundred and sixty-three in 
Europe. In the Devonian limestones of England, 
as for instance at Torquay, the specimens, though 
abundant and well preserved as to their internal 
structure, are too firmly imbedded in the rock to 
show their external forms. In the Devonian of the 
continent of Europe much finer specimens occur; but, 
perhaps, in no part of the world is there so clear an 
exhibition of them as in the Devonian limestones of 
the United States and Canada. Sir Charles Lyell thus 
expresses his admiration of the exposure of these 
corals, which he saw at the falls of the Ohio, near 
Louisville. He says, " Although the water was not 
at its lowest, I saw a grand display of what may be 
termed an ancient coral-reef, formed by zoophytes 
which flourished in a sea of earlier date than the 
Carboniferous period. The ledges of horizontal 
limestone, over which the water flows, belong to 
the Devonian group, and the softer parts of the stone 
have decomposed and wasted away, so that the 


harder calcareous corals stand out in relief. Many 
branches of these zoophytes project from their erect 
stems precisely as if they were living. Among other 
species I observed large masses, not less than five 
feet in diameter, of Favosites GotMandica, with its 
beautiful honeycomb structure well displayed. There 
was also the cup-shaped CyathophyUum, and the 
delicate network of Fenestella, and that elegant and 
well-known European species of fossil, the chain coral, 
Catenipora escharoides, with a profusion of others which 
it would be tedious to all but the geologist to enume- 
rate. Although hundreds of fine specimens have 
been detached from these rocks to enrich the museums 
of Europe and America, another crop is constantly 
working its way out under the action of the stream, 
and of the sun and rain in the warm season when 
the channel is laid dry."* These limestones have 
been estimated to extend, as an almost continuous 
coral reef, over the enormous area of five hundred 
thousand square miles of the now dry and inland 
surface of the great American continental plateau. 
The limestones described by Sir Charles are known 
in the Western States as the " Cliff limestone." In 
the State of New York and in Western Canada the 
"Corniferous limestone/ 5 so called from the masses 
of hornstone, like the flint of the English chalk, 
contained in it, presents still more remarkable 
features. The corals which it contains have been 

* "Travels in North America," second series. 


replaced by the siliceous or flinty matter in such a 
manner that, when the surrounding limestone weathers 
away, they remain projecting in relief in all the 
beauty of their original forms. Not only so, but on 
the surface of the country they remain as hard 
siliceous stones, and may be found in ploughing the 
soil and in stone fences and roadside heaps, so that 
tons of them could often be collected over a very 
limited space. When only partly disengaged from 
the matrix, the process may be completed by im- 
mersing them in a dilute acid. The beauty of these 
specimens when thus prepared is very great not 
at all inferior to that of modern corals, which they 
often much resemble in general form, though dif- 
fering in details of structure. One of the most 
common forms is that of the Favosites, or honeycomb 
coral, presenting regular hexagonal cells with trans- 
verse floors or tabulee. Of these there are several 
species, usually flat or massive in form; but one 
species, F. polymorplia, branches out like the modern 
stag-horn corals. Another curious form, Michelina, 
looks exactly like a mass of the papery cells of the 
great American hornet in a petrified state, and the 
convex floors simulate the covers of the cells, so that 
it is quite common to find them called fossil wasps' 
nests. Some of the largest belong to the genus 
Pliilipsasirea or Smithia, which Hugh Miller has 
immortalized by comparing its crowded stars, with 
confluent rays, to the once-popular calico pattern 
known as " Lane's net " a singular instance of the 


accidental concurrence of a natural and artificial design. 
Another very common type is that of the conica/ 
Zaplirentis, with a deep cut at top to lodge the body 
of the animal, whose radiating chambers are faithfully 
represented by its delicate lamellas. Perhaps the 
most delicate of the whole is the Syringopora, with 
its cylindrical worm-like pipes bound together by 
transverse processes, and which sometimes can be 
dissolved out in all its fragile perfection by the action 
of an acid on a mass of Corniferous limestone filled 
with these corals in a silicified state. 

These Devonian corals, like those of the Silurian, 
belong to the great extinct groups of Tabulate and 
Rugose corals ; groups which present, on the one hand, 
points of resemblance to the ordinary coral animals of 
the modern seas, and, on the other, to those somewhat 
exceptional corals, the Millepores, which are produced 
by another kind of polyp, the Hydroids. Some of 
them obviously combine properties belonging to both, 
as, for example, the radiating partitions with the 
arrangement of the parts in multiples of four, the 
horizontal floors, and the external solid wall ; and this 
fact countenances the conclusion that in these old 
corals we have a group of high and complex organiz- 
ation, combining properties now divided between two 
great groups of animals, neither of them probably, 
cither in their stony skeletons or the soft parts of the 
animal, of as high organization as their Palseozoic 
predecessors. This sort of disintegration of compo- 
site types, or dissolution of old partnerships, seem a 


to have been no unusual occurrence in the history of 

If the Devonian witnessed the culmination of the 
Palaeozoic corals, its later stages saw the final de- 
cadence of the great dynasty of the Trilobites. Of 
these creatures there are in the Devonian some large 
and ornate species, remarkable for their spines and 
tubercles ; as if in this, the latter day of their do- 
minion, they had fallen into habits of luxuiious deco- 
ration unknown to their sterner predecessors, and at 
the same time had found it necessary to surround 
their now disputed privileges with new safeguards of 
defensive armour. Not improbably the decadence 
of the Trilobites may have been connected with the 
introduction of the numerous and formidable fishes of 
the period. 

But while the venerable race of the Trilobites was 
preparing to fight its last and unsuccessful battle, 
another and scarcely less ancient tribe of crustaceans, 
the Eurypterids, already strong in the Silurian, was 
armed with new and formidable powers. The 
Pterygotus anglicus, which should have been named 
scoticus, since its head-quarters are in Scotland, was 
in point of size the greatest of known crustaceans, 
recent or fossil. According to Mr. Henry Woodward, 
who has published an admirable description and 
figures of the creature in the Palaeontographical 

* Verril and Moseley have shown that many of the Tabu- 
late corals must be distributed among other groups. 


Society's Memoirs, it must have been six feet in 
length, and nearly two feet in breadth. Its antennae 
were, unlike the harmless feelers of modern Crustacea, 
armed with powerful claws. Two great eyes stood 
in the front of the head, and two smaller ones on 
the top. It had four pairs of great serrated jaws, 
the largest as wide as a man's hand. At the sides 
were a pair of powerful paddles, capable of urging 
it swiftly through the water as it pursued its prey ; 
and when attacked by any predaceous fish, it could 
strike the water with its broad tail, terminated by a 
great flat " telson," and retreat backward with the 
rapidity of an arrow. Woodward says it must have 
been the ' ' shark of the Devonian seas ; " rather, it was 
the great champion of the more ancient family of the 
lobsters, set to arrest, if possible, the encroachments 
of the coming sharks. 

The Trilobites and Eurypterids constitute a hard 
case for the derivationists. Unlike those Melchi- 
sedeks, the fishes of the Silurian, which are without 
father or mother, the Devonian crustaceans may boast 
of their descent, but they have no descendants. No 
distinct link connects them with any modern crusta- 
ceans except the Limuli, or horse-shoe crabs; and here 
the connection is most puzzling, for while there 
seems some intelligible resemblance between the adult 
Eurypterids and the horse-shoe, or king-crabs, the 
latter, in their younger state, rather resemble Trilo- 
bites, as Dr. Packard has recently shown. Thus 
the two great tribes of Eurypterids and Trilobites 


have united in the small modern group of king-crabs, 
while on the other hand, there are points of resemblance, 
as already stated, between Trilobites and Isopods, and 
the king-crabs had already begun to exist, since one 
species is now known in the Upper Silurian. So 
puzzling are these various relationships, that one 
naturalist of the derivationist school has recently 
attempted to solve the difficulty by suggesting that 
the Trilobites are allied to the spiders ! Thus nature 
sports with our theories, showing us in some cases, as 
in the corals and fishes, partnerships split up into 
individuals, and in others distinct lines of being con- 
verging and becoming lost in one slender thread. 
Barrande, the great palaeontologist of Bohemia, has 
recently, in an elaborate memoir on the Trilobites, 
traced these and other points through all their struc- 
tures and their whole succession in geological time 
thereby elaborating a most powerful inductive argu- 
ment against the theory of evolution, and concluding 
that, so far from the history of these creatures favour- 
ing such a theory, it seems as if expressly contrived 
to exclude its possibility. 

But, while the gigantic Eurypterids and ornate 
Trilobites of the Devonian were rapidly approaching 
their end, a few despised little crustaceans, repre- 
sented by the Amphipeltis of New Brunswick and 
Kampecaris of Scotland, were obscurely laying the 
foundation of a new line of beings, that of the Stoma- 
pods, destined to culminate in the Squillas and their 
allies, which, however different in structure, are 


practically the Eurypterids of the modern ocean, So 
change the dynasties of men and animals. 

" Thou takest away their breath, they die. 

They return to their dust ; 
Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, 

They are created ; 
Thou renewest the face of the earth." 

The reign of fishes began in the Upper Silurian, for 
in the rocks of this age, more especially in England, 
several species have been found. They occur, how- 
ever, only in the newer beds of this formation, and 
are not of large size, nor very abundant. It is to be 
observed that, in so far as the fragments discovered 
can be interpreted, they indicate the existence already 
of two distinct types of fishes, the Ganoids, or gar- 
fishes, protected with bony plates and scales, and the 
Placoids, or shark-like fishes ; and that in the existing 
world these fishes are regarded as occupying a high 
place in their class. Further, these two groups of 
fishes are those which throughout a large portion of 
geological time continue to prevail to the exclusion 
of other types, the ordinary bony fishes having been 
introduced only in comparatively recent periods. 
With the Devonian, however, there comes a vast 
increase to the finny armies ; and so characteristic 
are these that the Devonian has been called the age 
of fishes par excellence, and we must try, with the 
help of our illustration, to paint these old inhabitants 
of the waters as distinctly as we can. Among 1 the 


most ancient and curious of these fishes are those 
singular forms covered with broad plates, of which 
the Pteraspis of the Upper Silurian is the herald, and 
which are represented in the Lower Devonian by 
several distinct genera. Of these, one of the most 
curious is the Cephalaspis, or buckler-head, dis- 
tinguished by its broad flat head, rounded in front 
and prolonged at the sides into two great spines, 
which project far beyond the sides of the com- 
paratively slender body. This fish, it may be men- 
tioned, is the type of a family highly characteristic 
of the Lower Devonian, as well as of the Upper 
Silurian, and all of which are provided with large 
plate-like cephalic coverings, sometimes with a long 
snout in front, and, in so far as is known, a com- 
paratively weak body and tail. They were all pro- 
bably ground-living creatures, feeding on worms and 
shell-fishes, and " rooting" for these in the mud, or 
burrowing therein for their safety. In these respects 
they have a most curious analogy to the Trilobites, 
which in habits they must have greatly resembled, 
though belonging by their structure to an entirely 
different and much higher class. So close is this 
resemblance, that their head-shields used to be mis- 
taken for those of Trilobites. The case is one of 
those curious analogies which often occur in nature, 
and which must always be distinguished from the 
true affinities which rest on structural resemblances. 
Another group of small fishes, likewise cuirassed in 
armour of plates, may be represented by the 


Pterichtlnjs, with its two strong bony fins at the sides, 
which may have served for swimming, but probably 
also for defence, and for creeping on or shovelling 
up the mud at the bottom of the sea. But, besides 
the Ganoids which were armed in plated cuirasses, 
there were others, active and voracious, clad in 
shining enamelled scales, like the bony pikes of the 
American rivers and the Polypterus of the Nile. 
Some of these, like the Diplacanthus, or " double- 
spine," were of small size, and chiefly remarkable 
for their sharp defensive bony spines. Others, like 
Holoptycliius (wrinkled-scale) and Osteolepis (bone- 
scale), were strongly built, and sometimes of great 
size. One Russian species of Asterolepis (star-scale) 
is supposed to have been twenty feet in length, and 
furnished with strong and trenchant teeth in two 
rows. These great fishes afford a good reason for 
the spines and armour-plates of the contemporary 
trilobites and smaller fishes. Just as man has been 
endeavouring to invent armour impenetrable to shot, 
for soldiers and for ships, and, on the other hand, 
shot and shells that can penetrate any armour, so 
nature has always presented the spectacle of the 
most perfect defensive apparatus matched with the 
most perfect weapons for destruction. In the class 
of fishes, no age of the world is more eminent in 
these respects than the Devonian.* In addition 

* Many of these were discovered and successfully displayed 
and described by Hugh Miller, and are graphically portrayed 
in bis celebrated work on the " Old Ked Sandstone," published 
in 1841 


to these fishes, there were others, represented prin- 
cipally by their strong bony spines, which must 
have been allied to some of the families of modern 
sharks, most of them, however, probably to that com- 
paratively harmless tribe which, furnished with flat 
teeth, prey upon shell-fishes. There are other fishes 
difficult to place in our systems of classification; and 
among these an eminent example is the huge 
Dinichthys of Newberry, from the Hamilton group of 
Ohio. The head of this creature is more than three 
feet long and eighteen inches broad, with the bones 
extraordinarily strong and massive. In the upper 
jaw, in addition to strong teeth, there were in front 
two huge sabre-shaped tusks or incisors, each nearly a 
foot long ; and corresponding to these in the massive 
lower jaw were two closely joined conical tusks, fitting 
between those of the upper jaw. No other fish 
presents so frightful an apparatus for destruction ; and 
if, as is probable, this was attached to a powerful 
body, perhaps thirty feet in length, and capable of 
rapid motion through the water, we cannot imagine 
any creature so strong or BO well armed as to cope 
with the mighty Dinichthys.* 

The difference between the fishes of the Devonian 
and those of the modern seas is well marked by the 
fact that, while the ordinary bony fishes now amount 
to probably 9,000 species, and the ganoid fishes to 
less than thirty, the finny tribes of the Devonian aie 
predominantly ganoids, and none of the ordinary type 
ure known. To what is this related, with reference 
* See Note, p. 108. 


to conditions of existence ? Two explanations, dif- 
ferent yet mutually connected, may be suggested. 
One is that armour was especially useful in the 
Devonian as a means of defence from the larger pre- 
daceous species, and the gigantic crustaceans of the 
period. That this was the case may be inferred from 
the conditions of existence of some modern ganoids. 
The common bony' pike of Canada (Lepidosteus) , fre- 
quenting shallow and stagnant waters, seems to be 
especially exposed to injury from its enemies. Con- 
sequently, while it is rare to find an ordinary fish 
showing any traces of wounds, a large proportion of 
the specimens of the bony pike which I have- ex- 
amined have scars on their scales, indicating injuries 
which they have experienced, and which possibly, to 
fishes not so well armed, might have proved fatal. 
Again, in the modern Amia, or mud-fish, in the bony 
pike and Polypterus, there is an extremely large air- 
bladder, amply supplied with blood-vessels, and even 
divided into cells or chambers, and communicating 
with the mouth by an " air-duct." This organ is 
unquestionably in function a lung, and enables the 
animal to dispense in some degree with the use of Us 
gills, which of course depend for their supply of vital 
air on the small quantity of oxygen dissolved in the 
water. Hence, by the power of partially breathing 
air, these fishes can live in stagnant and badly aerated 
waters, where other fishes would perish. In the case 
of the Amia, the grunting noises which it utters, 
its habit of frequenting the muddy creeks of swamps, 


and its possession of gill-cleaners, correspond with 
this view. It is possible that the Devonian fishes 
possessed this semi-reptilian respiration; and if so, 
they would be better adapted than other fishes to 
live in water contaminated with organic matter in a 
state of decay, or in waters rich in carbonic acid or 
deficient in oxygen. Possibly the palaeozoic waters, 
as well as the palaeozoic atmosphere, were less rich in 
pure oxygen than those of the present world; and it 
is certain that, in many of the beds in which the 
smaller Devonian fishes abound, there was so much 
decaying vegetable matter as to make it probable 
that the water was unfit for the ordinary fishes. 
Thus, though at first sight the possession of external 
armour and means to respire air, in the case of these 
peculiar fishes, may seem to have no direct connection 
with each other, their obvious correlation in some 
modern ganoids may have had its parallel on a more 
extensive scale among their ancient relatives. Just 
as the modern gar-fish, by virtue of its lungs, caii 
live in stagnant shallows and hunt frogs, but on that 
account needs strong armour to defend it against the 
foes that assail it in such places; so in the Devonian 
the capacity to inhabit cnaerated water and defensive 
plates and scales may have been alike necessary, 
especially to the feebler tribes of fishes. We shall 
find that in the succeeding carboniferous period there 
is equally good evidence of this. 

We have reserved little space for the Devonian 
plants and insects ; but we may notice both in a walk 




through a Devonian forest, in which we may include 
the vegetation of the several subordinate periods into 
which this great era was divisible. The Devonian 
woods were probably, like those of the succeeding 
carboniferous period, dense and dark, composed of 
but few species of plants, and these somewhat mono- 
tonous in appearance, and spreading out into broad 
swampy jungles, encroaching on the shallow bays and 
estuaries. Landing on one of these flats, we may 
first cast our eyes over a wide expanse, covered with 
what at a distance we might regard as reeds or rushes. 
But on a near approach they appear very different; 
rising in slender, graceful stems, they fork again and 
again, and their thin branches are sparsely covered 
with minute needle-like leaves, while the young shoots 
curl over in graceful tresses, and the older are covered 
with little oval fruits, or spore-cases ; for these plants 
are cryptogamous, or flowerless. This singular vege- 
tation stretches for miles along the muddy flats, and 
rises to a height of two or three feet from a knotted 
mass of cylindrical roots or root-stocks, twining like 
snakes through and over the soil. This plant may, 
according as we are influenced by its fruit or struc- 
ture, be regarded as allied to the modern club-mosses 
or the modern pill-worts. It is Psilophyton, in every 
country one of the most characteristic plants of the 
period, though, when imperfectly preserved, often 
relegated by careless and unskilled observers to the 
all-engulfing group of fucoids. A little further inland 
we see a grove of graceful trees, forking like Psi~ 



lophyton, but of grander dimensions, and with the 
branches covered with linear leaves, and sometimes 
terminated by cones. These are Lepidodendra, gigan- 

Fig. 12. VHGI 

To ihe lefb are Calamites ; next to these, LeptopMeum ; in the centre are 
Lcpidodendixm, Sigillaria, and a Pine. Below are tiilopJiyton, Cordaitt*, Ferns, 
aud Asterophylliiet. 


tic club-mosses, which were developed to still greater 
dimensions in the coal period. Near these we may 
see a still more curious tree, more erect in its growth, 
with rounded and somewhat rigid leaves and cones 
of different form, and with huge cable-like roots, 
penetrating the mud, and pitted with the marks of 
long rootlets. This is Cyclostigma, a plant near to 
the Lepidodendron, but distinct, and peculiar to the 
Devonian. Some of its species attain to the dimen- 
sions of considerable trees; others are small and 
shrubby. Another small tree, somewhat like the 
others, but with very long shaggy leaves, and its 
bark curiously marked with regular diamond-shaped 
scars, is the Leptoplileum. All these plants are pro- 
bably allied to our modern club-mosses, which arc, 
however, also represented by some low and creeping 
species cleaving to the ground. A little further, and 
we reach a dense clump of Sigillarice, with tall sparsely 
forking stems, and ribbed with ridges holding rows 
of leaf-scars a group of plants which we shall have 
further occasion to notice in the coal formation ; and 
here is an extensive jungle of Catamites, gigantic 
and overgrown mares' -tails, allies of the modern 

Amidst these trees, every open glade is filled with 
delicate ferns of marvellous grace and beauty ; and 
here and there a tree-fern rears its head, crowned 
with its spreading and graceful leaves, and its trunk 
clad with a shaggy mass of aerial roots an old 
botanical device, used in these ancient times, as well 


as now, to strengthen and protect the stems of trees 
not fitted for lateral expansion. Beyond this mass 
of vegetation, and rising on the slopes of the distant 
hills, we see great trees that look like pines. We 
cannot approach them more nearly; but here on the 
margin of a creek we see some drift-trunks, that 
have doubtless been carried down by a land flood. 
One of them is certainly a pine, in form and structure 
of its wood very like those now living in the southern 
hemisphere ; it is a Dadoxylon. Another is different, 
its sides rough and gnarled, and marked with huge 
irregular ridges; its wood loose, porous, and stringy, 
more like the bark of modern pines, yet having rings 
of growth and a true bark of its own, and sending 
forth large branches and roots. It is the strange and 
mysterious Prototaxites, one of the wonders of the 
Devonian land, and whose leaves and fruits would 
be worth their weight in gold in our museums, could 
we only procure them. A solitary fragment further 
indicates that in the yet unpenetrated solitudes of the 
Devonian forests there may be other trees more like 
our ordinary familiar friends of the modern woods , 
but of these we know as yet but little. What in- 
habitants have these forests ? All that we yet know 
are a few large insects, relatives of our modern May- 
flies, flitting with broad veined wings over the 
stagnant waters in which their worm-like larvae dwell, 
and one species at least assuming one of the properties 
of the grasshopper tribe, and enlivening the otherwise 
silent groves with a cricket-like chirp, the oldest 


music of living things that geology as yet reveals to 
us ; and this, not by the hearing of the sound itself, 
bub by the poor remains of the instrument attached 
to a remnant of a wing from the Devonian shales of 
New Brunswick. 

A remarkable illustration of the abundance of cer- 
tain plants in the Devonian, and also of the slow and 
gradual accumulation of some of its beds, is furnished 
by layers of fossil spore-cases, or the minute sacs 
which contain the microscopic germs of club-mosses 
and similar plants. In the American forests, in 
spring, the yellow pollen-grains of spruces and pines 
sometimes drift away in such quantities in the breeze 
that they fall in dense showers, popularly called 
showers of sulphur; and this vegetable sulphur, 
falling in lakes and ponds, is drifted to the shore 
in great sheets and swathes. The same thing appears 
to have occurred in the Devonian, not with the pollen 
of flowering plants, but with the similar light spores 
and spore-cases of species of Lepidodendron and 
allied trees. In a bed of shale, at Kettle Point, Lake 
Huron, from 12 to 14 feet thick, not only are the 
surfaces of the beds dotted over with minute round 
spore-cases, but, on making a section for the micro- 
scope, the substance of each layer is seen to be filled 
with them; and still more minute bodies, probably 
the escaped spores, are seen to fill up their interstices. 
The quantity of these minute bodies is so great that 
the shale is combustible, and burns with much flame. 
A bed of this nature must have been formed in 


shallow and still water, on the margin of an extensive 
jungle or forest ; and as the spore-cases are similar 
to those of the Lepidodendra of the coal-measures, 
the trees were probably of this kind. Year after year, 
as the spores became ripe, they were wafted away, and 
fell in vast quantities into the water, to be mixed with 
the fine mud there accumulating. When we come to 
the coal period, we shall see that such beds of spore- 
cases occur there also, and that they have even been 
supposed to be mainly instrumental in the accumula- 
tion of certain beds of coal. Their importance in this 
respect may have been exaggerated, but the fact of 
their occurrence in immense quantities in certain coals 
and shales is indisputable. 

This is but a slender sketch of the Devonian 
forests ; but we shall find many of the same forms of 
plants in the carboniferous period which succeeds. 
With one thought we may close. We are prone to 
ask for reasons and uses for things, but sometimes 
we cannot be satisfied. Of what use were the De- 
vonian forests ? They did not, like those of the coal 
formation, accumulate rich beds of coal for the use 
of man. Except possibly a few insects, we know 
no animals that subsisted on their produce, nor was 
there any rational being to admire their beauty. 
Their use, except as helping us in these last days to 
complete the order of the vegetable kingdom as it 
has existed in geological time, is a mystery. We can 
but fall back on that ascription of praise to Him " who 
liveth for ever and ever," on the part of the heavenly 


elders who cast down their crowns before the throne 
and say, " Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive the 
glory, and the honour, and the might ; because Thou 
didst create all things, and by reason of Thy will they 
are and were created." 

NOTE. Since the preceding pages were written, Newberry 
has shown that the DiniclitJiys was clothed with bony armour, 
and that its formidable teeth resembled on a great scale those 
of the little Lepidosiren, or Mud-fish, of Africa a member of a 
small and interesting group of fishes (Dipnoi), very rare now, 
but represented by many and magnificent forms in older 

I am sorry to add that Dr. Scudder has seen reason to 
relinquish the idea that the markings on the wing of the 
Devonian insect referred to at page 105, represent a musi-al 



THAT age of the world's history which, from its rich- 
ness in accumulations of vegetable matter destined 
to be converted into coal, has been named the Car- 
boniferous, is in relation to living beings the most 
complete and noble of the Palaeozoic periods. In it 
those varied arrangements of land and water which 
had been increasing in perfection in the previous 
periods, attained to their highest development. In 
it the forms of animal and plant life that had been 
becoming more numerous and varied from the Eozoic 
onward, culminated. The Permian which succeeded 
was but the decadence of the Carboniferous, prepara- 
tory to the introduction of a new order of things. 
Thus the Carboniferous was to the previous periods 
what the Modern is to the preceding Tertiary and 
Mesozoic ages the summation and completion of 
them all, and the embodiment of their highest excel- 
lence. If the world's history had closed with the 
Carboniferous, a naturalist, knowing nothing further, 
would have been obliged to admit that it had already 
fulfilled all the promise of its earlier years. It is im- 
portant to remember this, since we shall find ourselves 
entering on an entirely new scene in the Mesozoic 


period, and since this character of the Carboniferous, 
as well as its varied conditions and products, may 
excuse us for dwelling on it a little longer than on 
the others. On the other hand, the immense economic 
importance of the coal formation, and the interesting 
points connected with it, have made the Carboniferous 
more familiar to general readers than most other 
geological periods, so that we may select points less 
common and well-known for illustration. Popular 
expositions of geology are, however, generally so one- 
sided and so distorted by the prevalent straining after 
effect, that the true aspect of this age is perhaps not 
much better known than that of others less frequently 

Let us first consider the Carboniferous geography 
of the northern hemisphere ; and in doing so we may 
begin with a fact concerning the preceding age. One 
of the most remarkable features of the Newer De- 
vonian is the immense quantity of red rocks, particu- 
larly red sandstones, contained in it. Red sandstones, 
it is true, occur in older formations, but comparatively 
rarely ; their great head- quarters, both in Europe and 
America, in so far as the Palasozoic is concerned, are 
in the Upper Devonian. Now red sandstone is an 
infallible mark of rapid deposition, and therefore of 
active physical change. If we examine the grains 
of sand in a red sandstone, wo shall find that they 
are stained or coated, externally, with the peroxide 
of iron, or iron rust ; and that this coating, with per- 
haps a portion of the same substance in the inter- 


vening cement, is the cause of the colour. In finer 
sandstones and red clays the same condition exists, 
though less distinctly perceptible. Consequently, if 
red sands and clays are long abraded or scoured in 
water, or are subjected to any chemical agent capable 
of dissolving the iron, they cease to be red, and re- 
sume their natural grey or white colour. Now in 
nature, in addition to mechanical abrasion, there is a 
chemical cause most potent in bleaching red rocks, 
namely, the presence of vegetable or animal matter 
in a state of decay. Without entering into chemical 
details, we may content ourselves with the fact that 
organic matter decaying in contact with peroxide of 
iron tends to take oxygen from it, and then to dis- 
solve it in the state of protoxide, while the oxygen 
set free aids the decay. Carrying this fact with us, 
we may next affirm that iron is so plentiful in the 
crust of the earth that nearly all sands and clays 
when first produced from the weathering of rocks 
are stained with it, and that when this weathering 
takes place in the air, the iron is always in the state 
of peroxide. More especially does this apply to the 
greater number of igneous or volcanic rocks, which 
nearly always weather brown or red. Now premising 
that the original condition of sediment is that of 
being reddened with iron, and that it may lose this 
by abrasion, or by the action of organic matter, it 
follows that when sand has been produced by decay 
of rocks in the air, and when it is rapidly washed 
into the sea and deposited there, red beds will result. 


For instance, in the Bay of Fnady, whose rapid tideg 
cut away the red rocks of its shores and deposit their 
materials quickly, red mud and sand constitute the 
modern deposit. On the other hand, when the red 
sand and mud are long washed about, their red matter 
may disappear ; and when the deposition is slow and 
accompanied with the presence of organic matter, the 
red colour is not only removed, but is replaced by the 
dark tints due to carbon. Thus, in the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence, where red rocks similar to those of the Bay 
of Fundy are being more slowly wasted, and deposited 
in the presence of sea-weeds and other vegetable sub- 
stances, the resulting sands and clays are white and 
grey or blackened in colour. An intermediate condi- 
tion is sometimes observed, in which red beds are 
stained with grey spots and lines, where sea-weeds 
or land-plants have rested on them. I have speci- 
mens of Devonian red shale with the forms of fern 
leaves, the substance of which has entirely perished, 
traced most delicately upon them in greenish marks. 

It follows from these facts that extensive and thick 
deposits of red beds evidence sub-aerial decay of 
rocks, followed by comparatively rapid deposition in 
water, and that such red rocks will usually contain 
few fossils; not only because of their rapid deposition, 
but because the few organic fragments deposited with 
them will probably have been destroyed by the 
chemical action of the superabundant oxide of iron, 
which, so to speak, "iron-moulds" them, just as 
stains of iron eat holes out of linen. Now when Sir 


Roderick Murchison tells us of 10,000 feet in thick- 
ness of red iron-stained rocks in the old red sand- 
stone of England, we can see in this the evidence of 
rapid aqueous deposition, going on for a very long 
time, and baring vast areas of former land surface. 
Consequently we have proof of change?, of level and 
immense and rapid denudation a conclusion further 
confirmed by the apparent unconformity of different 
members of the series to each other in some parts of 
the British Islands, the lower beds having been tilted 
up before the newer were deposited. Such was the 
state of affairs very generally at the close of the 
Devonian, and it appears to have been accompanied 
with some degree of subsidence of the land, succeeded 
by re-elevation at the beginning of the Carboniferous, 
when many and perhaps large islands and chains of 
islands were raised out of the sea, along whose mar- 
gins there were extensive volcanic eruptions, evi- 
denced by the dykes of trap traversing the Devonian, 
and the beds of old lava interstratified in the lower 
part of the Carboniferous, where also the occurrence 
of thick beds of conglomerate or pebble-rock indicates 
the tempestuous action of the sea. 

But a careful study of the Lower Carboniferous 
beds, where their margins rest upon the islands of 
older rocks, shows great varieties in these old shores. 
In some places there were shingly beaches ; in others, 
extensive sand-banks ; in others, swampy flats clothed 
with vegetation, and sometimes bearing peaty beds, 
still preserved as small seams of coal. The bays and 



creeks swarmed with fishes. A few sluggish reptiles 
crept along the muddy or sandy shores, and out sea- 
ward were great banks and reefs of coral and shells 
in the clear blue sea. The whole aspect of nature, 
taken in a general view, in the Older Carboniferous 
period, must have much resembled that at present 
seen among the islands of the southern hemisphere. 
And the plants and animals, though different, were 
more like those of the modern South Pacific than any 
others now living. 

As the age wore on, the continents were slowly 
lifted out of the water, and the great continental 
plateaus were changed from coral seas into swampy 
flats or low uplands, studded in many places with 
shallow lakes, and penetrated with numerous creeks 
and sluggish streams. In the eastern continent these 
land surfaces prevailed extensively, more especially 
in the west ; and in America they spread both east- 
ward and westward from the Appalachian ridge, until 
only a long north and south Mediterranean, running 
parallel to the Kooky Mountains, remained of the 
former wide internal ocean. On this new and low 
land, comparable with the "Sylvas" of the South 
American continent, flourished the wondrous vegeta- 
tion of the Coal period, and were introduced the new 
land animals, whose presence distinguishes the close 
of the Palaeozoic. 

After a vast lapse of time, in which only slow and 
gradual subsidence occurred, a more rapid settlement 
of the continental areas brought the greater part of 


the once fertile plains of the coal formation again 
under the waters; and shifting sand-banks and 
muddy tides engulfed and buried the remains of the 
old forests, and heaped on them a mass of sediment, 
which, like the weights of a botanical press, flattened 
and compressed the vegetable debris preserved in the 
leaves of the coal formation strata. Then came on 
that strange and terrible Permian period, which, like 
the more modern boulder-formation, marked the death 
of one age and the birth of another. 

The succession just sketched is the normal one; 
but the terms in which it has been described show 
that it cannot be universal. There are many places 
in which the whole thickness of the Carboniferous is 
filled with fossils of the land, and of estuaries and 
creeks. There are places, on the other hand, where 
the deep sea appears to have continued during the 
whole period. In America this is seen on the grand- 
est scale in the absence of the marine members 
along the western slopes of the Appalachians, and the 
almost exclusive prevalence of marine beds in the far 
west, where the great Carboniferous Mediterranean of 
America spread itself, and continued uninterruptedly 
into the succeeding Permian period. 

In our survey of the Carboniferous age, though 
there are peculiarities in the life of its older, middle, 
and newer divisions, we may take the great coal 
measures of the middle portion as the type of the 
land life of the period, and the great limestones of 
the lower portion as that of the marine life ; and as 


the former is in this period by far the most important 
we may begin with it. Before doing so, however, to 
prevent misapprehension, it is necessary to remind the 
reader that the Flora of the Middle Coal Period is but 
one of a succession of related floras that reach from 
the Upper Silurian to the Permian. The meagre flora 
of club-mosses and their allies in the Upper Silurian 
and Lower Devonian was succeeded by a compara- 
tively rich and varied assemblage of plants in the 
Middle Devonian. The Upper Devonian was a period 
of decadence, and in the Lower Carboniferous we have 
another feeble beginning, presenting features some- 
what different from those of the Upper Devonian. 
This was the time of the Culm of Germany, the 
Tweedian formation of the North of England and 
South of Scotland, and the Lower Coal formation of 
Nova Scotia. It was a period eminently rich in Lepi- 
dodendra. It was followed by the magnificent flora 
of the Middle Coal formation, and then there was a 
time of decadence in the Upper Coal formation and 
only a slight revival in the Permian. 

In the present condition of our civilization, coal is 
the most important product which the bowels of the 
earth afford to man. And though there are pro- 
ductive beds of coal in most of the later geological 
formations, down to the peats of the modern period, 
which are only unconsolidated coals, yet the coal of 
the Carboniferous age is the earliest valuable coal 
in point of time, and by far the most important in 
point of quantity. Mineral coal may be defined to 



be vegetable matter which has been buried in the 
strata of the earth's crust, and there subjected to 
certain chemical and mechanical changes. The proof 
of its vegetable origin will grow upon us as we pro- 
ceed. The chemical changes which it has under- 
gone are not very material. Wood or bark, taken as 
an example of ordinary vegetable matter, consists of 
carbon or charcoal, with the gases hydrogen and 
oxygen. Coal has merely parted with a portion of 
these ingredients in the course of a slow and imper- 
fect putrefaction, so that it comes to have much less 
oxygen and considerably less hydrogen than wood, 
and it has been blackened by the disengagement of 
a quantity of free carbon. The more bituminous 
flaming coals have a larger amount of residual hydro- 
gen. In the anthracite coals the process of carbonis- 
ation has proceeded further, and little remains but 
charcoal in a dense and compact form. In cannel 
coals, and in certain bituminous shales, on the con- 
trary, the process seems to have taken place entirely 
under water, by which putrefaction has been modified, 
so that a larger proportion than usual of hydrogen 
has been retained. The mechanical change which 
the coal has experienced consists in the flattening 
and hardening effect of the immense pressure of 
thousands of feet of superincumbent rock, which has 
crushed together the cell-walls of the vegetable 
matter, and reduced what was originally a pulpy 
mass of cellular tissue to the condition of a hard 
laminated rock. "\> understand this, perhaps the 


simplest way is to compare under the microscope a 
transverse section of recent pine-wood with a similar 
section of a pine trunk compressed into brown coal 
or jet. In the one the tissue appears as a series of 
meshes with thin woody walls and comparatively wide 
cavities for the transmission of the sap. In the other 
the walls of the cells have "been forced into direct 
contact, and in some cases have altogether lost their 
separate forms, and have been consolidated into a 
perfectly compact structureless mass. 

With regard to its mode of occurrence, coal is 
found in beds ranging in vertical thickness from less 
than an inch to more than thirty feet, and of wide 
laorizontal extent. Many such beds usually occur in 
the thickness of the coal formation, or "coal measures/' 
as the miners call it, separated from each other by 
beds of sandstone and compressed clay or shale. 
Very often the coal occurs in groups of several beds, 
somewhat close to each other and separated from other 
groups by " barren measures " of considerable thick- 
ness. In examining a bed of coal, where it is exposed 
in a cutting or shore cliff, we nearly always find that 
the bed below it, or the " underclay," as it is termed 
by miners, is a sort of fossil soil, filled with roots and 
rootlets. On this rests the coal, which, when we 
examine it closely, is found to consist of successive 
thin layers of hard coal of different qualities as to 
lustre and purity, and with intervening laminae of 
a dusty fibrous substance, like charcoal, called 
"mother coal" by miners, and sometimes mineral 


charcoal. Thin partings of dark shale also occur, 
and these usually present marks and impressions of 
the stems and leaves of plants. Above the coal is 
its " roof " of hardened clay or sandstone, and this 
generally holds great quantities of remains of plants, 
and sometimes large stumps of trees with their bark 
converted into coal, and the hollow once occupied 
with wood filled with sandstone, while their roots 
spread over the surface of the coal. Such fossil 
forests of erect stumps are also found at various 
levels in the coal measures, resting directly on under- 
clays without any coals. A bed of coal would thus 
appear to be a fossil bog or swamp. 

This much being premised about the general nature 
of the sooty blocks which fill our coal-scuttles, we 
may now transport ourselves into the forests and 
bogs of the coal formation, and make acquaintance 
with this old vegetation, while it still waved its 
foliage in the breeze and drank in the sunshine and 
showers. We are in the midst of one of those great 
low plains formed by the elevation of the former 
sea bed. The sun pours down its fervent rays upon 
us, and the atmosphere, being loaded with vapour, 
and probably more rich in carbonic acid than that 
of the present world, the heat is as it were accu- 
mulated and kept near the surface, producing a 
close and stifling atmosphere like that of a tropical 
swamp. This damp and oppressive air is, however, 
most favourable to the growth of the strange and 
grotesque trees which tower over our heads, and 


to the millions of delicate ferns and club-mosses, not 
unlike those of our modern woods, which carpet the 
ground. Ground us for hundreds of miles spreads 
a dense and monotonous forest, with here and there 
open spaces occupied by ponds and sluggish streams, 
whose edges are bordered with immense savannahs 
of reed-like plants, springing from the wet and boggy 
soil. Everything bespeaks a rank exuberance of 
vegetable growth ; and if we were to dig downward 
into the soil, we should find a thick bed of vegetable 
mould evidencing the prevalence of such conditions 
for ages. But the time will come when this immense 
flat will meet with he fate which in modern times 
befel a large district at the mouth of the Indus. 
Quietly, or with earthquake shocks, ifc will sink 
under the waters; fishes and mollusks will swarm 
where trees grew, beds of sand and mud will be 
deposited by the water, inclosing and preserving 
the remains of the vegetation, and in some places 
surrounding and imbedding the still erect trunks 
of trees. Many feet of such deposits may be formed, 
and our forest surface, with its rich bed of vegetable 
mould, has been covered up and is in process oi 
transformation into coal ; while in course of time 
the shallow waters being filled up with deposit, or 
a slight re-elevation occurring, a new forest exactly 
like the last will flourish on the same spot. Such 
changes would be far beyond the compass of the 
life even of a Methuselah ; but had we lived in the 
Coal period, we might have seen all stages of these 


processes contemporaneously in different parts of 
either of the great continents. 

But let us consider the actual forms of vegetation 
presented to us in the Coal period, as we can restore 
them from the fragments preserved to us in the 
beds of sandstone and shale, and as we would have 
seen them in our imaginary excursion through the 
Carboniferous forests. To do this we must first 
glance slightly at the great subdivisions of modern 
plants, which we may arrange in such a way as to 
give an easy means for comparison of the aspects 
of the vegetable kingdom in ancient and modern 
times. In doing this I shall avail myself of an 
extract from a previous publication of my own on 
this subject. 

" The modern flora of the earth admits of a grand 
twofold division into the Phcenogamous, or flowering 
and seed-bearing' plants, and the Cryptogamous, or 
flowerless and spore-bearing plants. In the former 
series, we have, first, those higher plants which start 
in life with two seed-leaves, and have stems with 
distinct bark, wood, and pith the Exogens; secondly, 
those similar plants which begin life with one seed- 
leaf only, and have no distinction of bark, wood, 
and pith, in the stem the Endogens ; and, thirdly, 
a peculiar group starting with two or several seed- 
leaves, and having a stem with bark, wood, and pith, 
but with very imperfect flowers, and wood of much 
simpler structure than either of the others the 
Gymnosperms. To the first of these groups or classes 


belong most of the ordinary trees of temperate 
climates. To the second belong the palms and 
allied trees found in tropical climates. To the third 
belong the pines and cycads. In the second or 
Cryptogamous series we have also three classes, 
(1.) The Acrogens, or ferns and club-mosses, with 
stems having true vessels marked on the sides with 
cross-bars the Scalariform vessels. (2.) The Ano~ 
phytes, or mosses and their allies, with stems and 
leaves, but no vessels. (3.) The Thallophytes, or 
lichens, fungi, sea-weeds, etc., without true stems 
and leaves. 

"In the existing climates of the earth we find 
these classes of plants variously distributed as to 
relative numbers. In some, pines predominate. In 
others, palms and treo-ferns form a considerable 
part of the forest vegetation. In others, the ordinary 
exogenous trees predominate, almost to the ex- 
clusion of others. In some Arctic and Alpine 
regions, mosses and lichens prevail. In the Coal 
period we have found none of the higher Exogens, 
though one species is known in the Devonian, and 
only a few obscure indications of the presence of 
Endogons; but Gymnosperms abound, and are 
highly characteristic. On the other hand, we have 
no mosses or lichens, and very few algae, but a 
great number of ferns and Lycopodiacege or club- 
mosses. Thus the coal formation period is botanically 
a meeting-place of the lower Phgenogams and the 
higher Cryptogams, and presents many forms which, 


when imperfectly known, have puzzled botanists in 
regard to their position in one or other series. In 
the present world, the flora most akin to that of 
the Coal period is that of moist and warm islands 
in the southern hemisphere. It is not properly a 
tropical flora, nor is it the flora of a cold region, 
but rather indicative of a moist and equable climate, 
fn accordance with this is the fact that the equable 
but not warm climate of the southern hemisphere 
at present (which is owing principally to its small 
extent of land) enables sub -tropical plants to extend 
into high latitudes. In the Coal period this uni- 
formity was evidently still more marked, since we 
find similar plants extending from regions within the 
Arctic circle to others near to the tropics. Still we 
must bear in mind that we may often be mistaken 
in reasoning as to the temperature required by 
extinct species of plants differing from those now 
in existence. Further, we must not assume that 
the climatal conditions of the northern hemisphere 
were in the Coal period at all similar to those which 
now prevail. As Sir Charles Lyell has argued, a 
less amount of land in the higher latitudes would 
greatly modify climates, and there is every reason 
to believe that in the Coal period there was less 
land than now. It has been shown by Tyndall that 
a very small additional amount of carbonic acid in 
the atmosphere would, by obstructing the radiation 
of heat from the earth, produce almost the effect 
of a glass roof or conservatory, extending over the 


whole world. There is much in the structure of the 
leaves of tho coal plants, as well as in the vast amount 
of carbon which they accumulated in the form of coal, 
and the characteristics of the animal life of the pe- 
riod, to indicate, on independent grounds, that the 
Carboniferous atmosphere differed from that of the 
present world in this way, or in the presence of more 
carbonic acid a substance now existing in the very 
minute proportion of one-thousandth of the whole 
by weight, a quantity adapted to the present require- 
ments of vegetable and animal life, but probably not 
to those of the Coal period. 

Returning from this digression to the forests of 
the Coal period, we may first notice that which is the 
most conspicuous and abundant tree in the swampj 
levels the Sigillaria or seal-tree, so called from the 
stamp-like marks left by the fall of its leaves a plant 
which has caused much discussion as to its affinities. 
Some regard it as a gymnosperm, others as a crypto- 
gam. Most probably we have under this name trees 
allied in part to both groups, and which, when better 
known, may bridge over the interval between them. 
These trees present tall pillar-like trunks, often ribbed 
vertically with raised bands, and marked with rows 
of scars left by the fallen leaves. They are sometimes 
branchless, or divide at top into a few thick limbs, 
covered with long rigid grass-like foliage. On their 
branches they bear long slender spikes of fruit, and 
we may conjecture that quantities of nut-like seeds 
scattered over the ground around their trunks are 


their produce. If we approach one of these trees 
closely, more especially a young specimen not yet 
furrowed by age, we are amazed to observe the accu- 
rate regularity and curious forms of the leaf-scars, 
and the regular ribbing, so very different from that of 
our ordinary forest trees. If we cut into its stem, we 
are still further astonished at its singular structure. 
Externally it has a firm and hard rind. Within this 
is a great thickness of soft cellular inner bark, tra- 
versed by large bundles of tough fibres. In the centre 
is a core or axis of woody matter very slender in pro- 
portion to the thickness of the trunk, and still further 
reduced in strength by a large cellular pith. Thus a 
great stem four or five feet in diameter is little else 
than a mass of cellular tissue, altogether unfit to form a 
mast or beam, but excellently adapted, when flattened 
and carbonised, to blaze upon our winter hearth as 
a flake of coal. The roots of these trees were perhaps 
more singular than their stems ; spreading widely in 
the soft soil by regular bifurcation, they ran out in 
long snake -like cords, studded all over with thick 
cylindrical rootlets, which spread from them in every 
direction. They resembled in form, and probably in 
function, those cable-like root-stocks of the pond-lilies 
which run through the slime of lakes, but the struc- 
ture of the rootlets was precisely that of those of some 
modern Cycads. It was long before these singular 
roots were known to belong to a tree. They were 
supposed to be the branches of some creeping aquatic 
plant, and botanists objected to the idea of their being 

<ff) (A) <s> (c) <*> I; i 

Pig. IS. GROTTP o* C 



(a) CALA.KITES (type of C. Sitctamt). (b) LBPIDOPLOIOS, or TlLorBiTDEOir. (c) 
SIGILLABIA (type of S. rent/ornm). (d) (type of S. elegant), (e) LEPiDODEifDBOif 
(type of L. corrugatum). (/) MKOAPHTTOK (type of M, rn.agnif.cum.). (g) COB- 
DAITES, or PXCHKOPHTLLCM (type of C. borassii/olta). 


roots ; but at length their connection wi'ch Sigillaria 
was observed simultaneously by Mr. Binney, in Lan- 
cashire, and by Mr. Richard Brown, in Cape Breton, 
and it has been confirmed by many subsequently ob- 
served facts. This connection, when once established, 
farther explained the reason of the almost universal 
occurrence of Stigmaria, as these roots were called, 
under the coal beds ; while trunks of the same plants 
were the most abundant fossils of their partings and 
roofs. The growth of successive generations of Sigil- 
lariae was, in fact, found to be the principal cause 
of the accumulation of a bed of coal. Two species 
form the central figures in our illustration. 

Along with the trees last mentioned, we observe 
others of a more graceful and branching form, the 
successors of those Lepidodendra already noticed in 
the Devonian, and which still abound in the Carboni- 
ferous, and attain to larger dimensions than their 
older relations, though they are certainly more abund- 
ant and characteristic in the lower portions of the 
carboniferous. Relatives, as already stated, of our 
modern club-mosses, now represented only by com- 
paratively insignificant species, they constitute the 
culmination of that type, which thus had attained 
its acme very long ago, though it still continues to 
exist under depauperated forms. They all branched 
by bifurcation, sometimes into the most graceful and 
delicate sprays. They had narrow slender leaves, placed 
in close spirals on the branches. They bore their 
spores in scaly cones. Their roots were similar to 


Stigmaria in general appearance, though differing in 
details. In the coal period there were several generic 
forms of these plants, all attaining to the dimensions 
of trees. Like the Sigillariae, they contributed to 
the materials of the coal; and one mode of this has 
recently attracted some attention. It is the accumu- 
lation of their spores and spore-cases already referred 
to in speaking of the Devonian, and which was in the 
Carboniferous so considerable as to constitute an im- 
portant feature locally in some beds of coal. A similar 
modern accumulation of spore-cases of tree-ferns 
occurs in Tasmania ; but both in the Modern and the 
Carboniferous, such beds are exceptional; though 
wherever spore-cases exist as a considerable consti- 
tuent of coal, from their composition they give to it 
a highly bituminous character, an effect, however, 
which is equally produced by the hard scales support- 
ing the spores, and by the outer epidermal tissues 
of plants when these predominate in the coal, more 
especially by the thick corky outer bark of Sigillaria. 
In short, the corky substance of bark and similar 
vegetable tissues, from its highly carbonaceous cha- 
racter, its indestructibility, and its difficult permea- 
bility by water carrying mineral matter in solution, 
is the best of all materials for the production of coal ; 
and the microscope shows that of this the principal 
part of the coal is actually composed. 

In the wide, open forest glades, tree-ferns almost 
precisely similar to those of the modern tropics reared 
their leafy crowns. But among them was one peculiar 


type, in which the fronds were borne in pairs on 
opposite sides of the stem, leaving when they fell two 
rows of large horseshoe-shaped scars marking the sides 
of the trunk. Botanists, who have been puzzled 
with these plants almost as much as with the Stig- 
maria, have supposed these scars to be marks of 
branches, of cones, and even of aerial roots; but 
specimens in my collection prove conclusively that 
the stem of this genus was a great caudex made up of 
the bases of two rows of huge leaves cemented toge- 
ther probably by intervening cellular tissue. As in 
the Devonian and in modern times, the stems of the 
tree-ferns of the Carboniferous strengthened them- 
selves by immense bundles of cord-like aerial roots, 
which look like enormous fossil brooms, and are known 
under the name Psaronius. 

We have only time to glance at the vast brakes of 
tall Calamites which fringe the Sigillaria woods, and 
stretch far seaward over tidal flats. They were allied 
to modern Mares' Tails or Equisetums, but were of 
gigantic size, and much more woody structure of stem. 
The Calamites grew on wet mud and sand-flats, and 
also in swamps ; and they appear to have been espe- 
cially adapted to take root in and clothe and mat 
together soft sludgy material recently deposited or 
in process of deposition. When the seed or spore 
of a Calamite had taken root, it probably produced 
a little low whorl of leaves surrounding one small 
joint, from which another and another, widening in 
size, arose, producing a cylindrical stem, tapering to 



a point below. To strengthen the unstable base, the 
lower joints, especially if the mud had been accumu- 
lating- around the plant, shot out long roots instead of 
leaves, while secondary sterns grew out of the sides 
at the surface of the soil, and in time there was a stool 
of Calamites, with tufts of long roots stretching down- 
wards, like an immense brush, into the mud. When 
Calamites thus grew on inundated flats, they would, 
by causing the water to stagnate, promote the eleva- 
tion of the surface by new deposits, so that their 
stems gradually became buried ; but this only favoured 
their growth, for they continually pushed out new 
stems, while the old buried ones shot out bundles 
of roots instead of regular whorls of leaves. 

The Calamites, growing in vast fields along the 
margins of the Sigillaria forests, must have greatly 
protected these from the effects of inundations, and 
by collecting the mud brought down by streams in 
times of flood, must have done much to prevent the 
intrusion of earthy deposits among the vegetable 
matter. Their chief office, therefore, as coal-pro- 
ducers, seems to have been to form for the Sigillaria 
forests those reedy fringes which, when inundations 
took place, would exclude mud, and prevent that 
mixture of earthy matter in the coal which would have 
rendered it too impure for use. Quantities of frag- 
ments of their stems can, however, be detected by the 
microscope in most coals. 

The modern Mares' Tails have thin-walled hollow 
stems, and some of the gigantic calamites of the coal 


resembled them in this. But others, to which the 
name Calamodendron, or Reed-tree, has been given, 
had stems with thick woody walls of a remarkable 
structure, which, while similar in plan to that of the 
Mires' Tails, was much more perfect in its develop- 
ment. Professor Williamson has shown that there 
were forms intervening between these extremes ; and 
thus in the calamites and calamodendrons we have 
another example of the exaltation in ancient times 
of a type now of humble structure j or, in other words, 
of a comprehensive type, low in the modern world, but 
in older periods taking to itself by anticipation the 
properties afterward confined to higher forms. The 
gigantic club-mosses of the Coal period constitute a 
similar example, and it is very curious that both of 
these types have been degraded in the modern world, 
though retaining precisely their general aspect, while 
the tree-ferns contemporary with them in the Palaeo- 
zoic still survive in all their original grandeur. 

Rarely in the swampy flats, perhaps more frequently 
in the uplands, grew great pines of several kinds ; 
trees capable of doing as good service for planks and 
beams as many of their modern successors, but which 
lived before their time, and do not appear even to 
have aided much in the formation of coal. Thesw 
pines of the Coal-period seem to have closely resem- 
bled some species still living in the southern hemi- 
sphere ; and, like the ferns, they present to us a vege- 
table type which has endured through vast periods 
of time almost unchanged. Indeed, in the Middle 


Devonian we have pines almost as closely resembling 
those of the Modern world as do those of the Coal 
period. It is in accordance with this long duration ol 
the ferns and pines, that they are plants now of world- 
wide distribution suited to all climates and stations. 
Capacity to exist under varied conditions is near akin 
to capacity to survive cosmical changes. A botanist in 
the strange and monstrous woods which we have tried 
to describe, would probably have found many curious 
things among the smaller herbaceous plants, and 
might have gathered several precursors of the modem 
Exogens and Endogens which have not been preserved 
to us as fossils, or are known only as obscure frag- 
ments. But incomplete though our picture neces- 
sarily is, and obscured by the dust of time, it may 
serve in some degree to render green to our eyes 
those truly primeval forests which treasured up for our 
long winter nights the Palasozoic sunshine, and estab- 
lished for us those storehouses of heat-giving material 
which work our engines and propel our ships and 
carriages. Truly they lived not in vain, both as real- 
izing for us a type of vegetation which otherwise we 
could not have imagined, and as preparing the most 
important of all the substrata of our modern arts and 
manufactures. In this last regard even the vegetable 
waste of the old coal swamps was most precious to us, 
as the means of producing the clay iron ores of the 
coal measures. I may close this notice of the Carbo- 
niferous forests with a suggestive extract from a paper 
by Professor Huxley in the Contemporary Review : 


"Nature is never in a hurry, and seems to have 
had always before her eyes the adage, ' Keep a thing 
long enough, and you will find a use for it.' She has 
kept her beds of coal for millions of years without 
being able to find much use for them ; she has sent 
them down beneath the sea, and the sea-beasts could 
make nothing of them ; she has raised them up into 
dry land and laid the black veins bare, and still for 
nges and ages there was no living thing on the face 
of the earth that could see any sort of value in them ; 
and it was only the other day, so to speak, that she 
turned a new creature out of her workshop, who by 
degrees acquired sufficient wits to make a fire, and 
then to discover that the black rock would burn. 

" I suppose that nineteen hundred years ago, when 
Julius Caesar was good enough to deal with Britain 
as we have dealt with New Zealand, the primeval 
Briton, blue with cold and woad, may have known 
that the strange black stone, of which he found lumps 
here and there in his wanderings, would burn, and 
so help to warm his body and cook his food. Saxon, 
Dane, and Norman swarmed into the land. The 
English people grew into a powerful nation, and 
Nature still waited for a return for the capital she had 
invested in the ancient club-mosses. The eighteenth 
century arrived, and with it James Watt. The brain 
of that man was the spore out of which was developed 
the steam-engine, and all the prodigious trees and 
branches of modern industry which have grown out 
of this. But coal is as mucl an essential condition of 


this growth and development as carbonic acid is for 
that of a club-moss. Wanting the coal, we could not 
have smelted the iron needed to make our engines, 
nor have worked our engines when we had got them. 
But take away the engines, and the great towns of 
Yorkshire and Lancashire vanish like a dream. Manu- 
factures give place to agriculture and pasture, and not 
ten men could live where now ten thousand are amply 

"Thus all this abundant wealth of money and of 
vivid life is Nature's investment in club-mosses and 
the like so long ago. But what becomes of the coal 
which is burnt in yielding the interest ? Heat comes 
out of it, light comes out of it, and if we could gather 
together all that goes up the chimney and all that 
remains in the grate of a thoroughly-burnt coal fire, 
we should find ourselves in possession of a quantity 
of carbonic acid, water, ammonia, and mineral 
matters, exactly equal in weight to the coal. But 
these are the very matters with which Nature supplied 
the club-moss which made the coal. She is paid back 
principal and interest at the same time; and she 
straightway invests the carbonic acid, the water, and 
the ammonia in new forms of life, feeding with them 
the plants that now live. Thrifty Nature ! surely no 
prodigal, but most notable of housekeepers \" 

All this is true and admirably put. Its one weak 
point is the poetical personification of Nature as an 
efficient planner of the whole. Such an imaginary 
goddess is a mere superstition, unknown alike to 


science and theology. Surely it is more rational to 
hold that the mind which can utilize the coal and 
understand the manner of its formation, is itself made 
in the image and likeness of the Supreme Creative 
Spirit, in whom we live and move and have our being, 
who knows the end from the beginning, whose power 
is the origin of natural forces, whose wisdom is the 
source of laws and correlations of laws, and whose 
great plan is apparent alike in the order of nature 
of the Palaeozoic world and of the modern world, as 
well as in the relation of these to each other. 

In the Carboniferous, as in the Devonian age, 
insects existed, and in greater numbers. The winged 
insects of the period, so far as known, belong to three 
of the nine or ten orders into which modern insects 
are usually divided. Conspicuous among them are 
representatives of our well-known domestic pests the 
cockroaches, which thus belong geologically to a very 
old family. The Carboniferous roaches had not the 
advantage of haunting our larders, but they had 
abundance of vegetable food in the rank forests of 
their time, and no doubt lived much as the numerous 
wild out-of-door species of this family now do. It is, 
however, a curious fact that a group of insects created 
so long ago, should prove themselves capable of the 
kind of domestication to which these creatures attain 
in our modern days; and that, had we lived even so far 
back as the coal period, we might have been liable to 
the attacks of this particular kind of pest. Another 
group, represented by many species in the coal 


forests, was that of the May-flies and shad-flies, or 
ephemeras, which spend their earlier days under 
water, feeding on vegetable matter, and affording food 
to many fresh-water fishes a use which they no 
doubt served in the coal period also. Some of them 
were giants in their way, being probably seven inches 
in expanse of wing, and their larvae must have been 
choice morsels to the ganoid fishes, and would have 
afforded abundant bait had there been anglers in 
those days. Another group of insects was that of the 
weevils, a family of beetles, whose grubs must have 
found plenty of nuts and fruits to devour, without 
attracting the wrathful attentions of any gardener or 

A curious and exceptional little group of creatures 
in the present world is that of the galley-worms or 
millipedes; wingless, many -jointed, and many-footed 
crawlers, resembling worms, but more allied to 
insects. These animals seem to have swarmed in the 
coal forests, and perhaps attained their maximum 
numbers and importance in this period, though they 
still remain, a relic of an ancient comprehensive type. 
I have myself found specimens referred by Mr. 
Scudder, a most competent entomologist, to two 
genera and five species, in a few decayed fossil stumps 
in Nova Scotia, and several others have been dis- 
covered in other parts of the world. It is not 
wonderful that animals like these, feeding on decayed 
vegetable matter, should have flourished in the 
luxuriant Sigillaria swamps. A few species of scor- 


pions and spiders, very like those of the modern 
world, have been found in the coal measures, both in 
Europe and America ; so that while we know of no 
enemy of the Devonian insects except the fishes, we 
know in addition to these in the Carboniferous the 
spiders and their allies, and the smaller reptiles or 
batrachians to be noticed in the sequel. With refer- 
ence to the latter, it is a curious fact that one of the 
first fragments of a winged insect found in the coal- 
fields of America was a part of a head and some other 
remains contained in the coprolites or excrementitious 
matter of one of the smaller fossil reptiles. It is 
perhaps equally interesting that this head shows one 
of the compound facetted eyes as perfectly developed 
as those of any modern Neuropter, a group of insects 
remarkable even in the present world for their large 
and complex organs of vision. We may pause here to 
note that, just as in the Primordial we already have 
the Trilobites presenting all the modifications of which 
the type is susceptible, so in the Carboniferous we 
have in the case of the terrestrial articulates a similar 
fact highly specialised forms like the beetles, the 
spiders, and the scorpions, already existing along 
with comprehensive forms like the millipedes. Let 
us formulate the law of creation which the Primordial 
trilobites, the Devonian fishes, and the Carboniferous 
club-mosses and insects have taught us : it is, that 
every new type rapidly attains its maximum of de- 
velopment in magnitude and variety of forms, and then 
remains stationary, or even retrogrades, in subsequent 


ages. We may connect this with other laws in the 

In the coal measures we also meet, for the first 
time in our ascending progress, the land snails so 
familiar now in every part of the world, and which 
are represented by two little species found in the coal 
formation of Nova Scotia. The figures of these must 
speak for themselves ; but the fact of their occurrence 
here and the mode of their preservation require some 
detailed mention. The great province of the Mollusks 
we have carried with us since we met with the Lingulse 
in the Primordial, but all its members have been 
aquatic, and probably marine. For the first time, in 
the Carboniferous period, snails emerge from the 
waters, and walk upon the ground and breathe air; 
for, like the modern land snails, these creatures no 
doubt had air-sacks instead of gills. They come 
suddenly upon us two species at once, and these 
representing two distinct forms of the snail tribe, the 
elongated and the rounded. They were very numer- 
ous. In the beds where they occur, probably 
thousands of specimens, more or less perfect, could 
be collected. Were they the first-born of land snails ? 
It would be rash to affirm this, more especially since 
in all the coal-fields of the world no specimens have 
been found except at one locality in Nova Scotia ;* and 
in all the succeeding beds, we meet with no more till 
we have reached a comparatively modern time. Yet 

* Bradley and Whitfield have announced the discovery of 
three additional species in the coal-fields of Illinois and Ohio, 
and a fragment, possibly representing a land snail, has been 
found in the Devonian of New Brunswick 



it is very unlikely that these creatures were in the 
coal period limited to one country, and that, after 
that period, they dropped out of existence for long 
ages, and then reappeared. Still it may have been so. 


Fig. 14. Pupa retusta, Dawson. 
(a) Natnral size. (6) Enlarged, (c) Apex, enlarged. v d) Sculpture, magnified. 

Fig. 15. Conulus Priscus, Carpenter. 
(a) Specimen enlarged, (b) Sculpture, magnified. 

There are cases of geographical limitation quite as 
curious now. Here again another peculiarity meets 


us. If these are really the oldest land snails, it is 
curious that they are so small, so much inferior to 
many of their modern successors even in the same 
latitudes. The climate of the coal period must have 
suited them, and there was plenty of vegetable food, 
though perhaps not the richest or most tender. There 
is no excuse for them in their outward circumstances. 
Why, then, unlike so many other creatures, do they 
enter on existence in this poor and sneaking way. 
We must here for their benefit modify in two ways 
the statement broadly made in a previous chapter, 
that new types come in under forms of great magni- 
tude. First, we often have, in advance of the main in- 
road of a new horde of animals, a few insignificant 
stragglers as a sort of prelude to the rest precursors 
intimating beforehand what is to follow. We shall 
find this to be the case with the little reptiles of the 
coal, and the little mammals of the Trias, preceding 
the greater forms which subsequently set in. Se- 
condly, this seems to be more applicable in the case of 
land animals than in the case of those of the waters. 
To the waters was the fiat to bring forth living things 
issued. They have always kept to themselves the 
most gigantic forms of life ; and it seems as if new 
forms of life entering on the land had to begin in a 
small way and took more time to culminate. 

The circumstances in which the first specimens of 
Carboniferous snails and gally-worms were found are 
so peculiar and so characteristic of the coal formation, 
that I must pause here to notice them, and to make of 


them an introduction to the next group of creatures 
we have to consider. In the coal formation in all 
parts of the world it is not unusual, as stated already 
in a previous page, to find erect trees or stumps 
of trees, usually Sigillariee, standing where they grew ; 
and where the beds are exposed in coast cliffs, or road 
cuttings, or mines, these fossil trees can be extracted 
from the matrix and examined. They usually consist 
of an outer cylinder of coal representing the outer 
bark, while the space within, once occupied by the 
inner bark and wood, is filled with sandstone, some- 
times roughly arranged in layers, the lowest of which 
is usually mixed with coaly matter or mineral charcoal 
derived from the fallen remains of the decayed wood, 
a kind of deposit which affords to the fossil botanist 
one of the best modes of investigating the tissues of 
these trees. These fossil stumps are not uncommon in 
the roofs of the coal-seams. In some places they are 
known to the miners as " coal pipes," and are dreaded 
by them in consequence of the accidents which occur 
from their suddenly falling after the coal which sup- 
ported them has been removed. An old friend and 
helper of mine in Carboniferous explorations had a 
lively remembrance of the fact that one of these old 
trees, falling into the mine in which he was working, 
had crushed his leg and given him a limp for life ; and 
if he had been a few inches nearer to it would have 
broken his back. 

The manner in which such trees become fossilized 
may be explained as follows : Imagine a forest of 


Sigillarise growing on a low flat. This becomes 
submerged by subsidence or inundation, the soil is 
buried under several feet of sand or mud, and the 
trees killed by this agency stand up as bare and 
lifeless trunks. The waters subside, and the trees 
rapidly decay, the larvae of wood-boring insects per- 
haps aiding in the process, as they now do in the 
American woods. The dense coaly outer bark alone 
resists decomposition, and stands as a hollow cylinder 
until prostrated by the wind or by the waters of 
another inundation, while perhaps a second forest or 
jungle has sprung up on the new surface. When it 
falls, the part buried in the soil becomes an open hole, 
with a heap of shreds of wood and bark in the bottom. 
Such a place becomes a fit retreat for gally-worms 
and land-snails; and reptiles pursuing such animals, 
or pursued by their own enemies, or heedlessly 
(scrambling among the fallen trunks, may easily fall 
into such holes and remain as prisoners. I remember 
bo have observed, when a boy, a row of post-holes 
dug across a pasture-field and left open for a few days, 
and that in almost every hole one or two toads were 
prisoners. This was the fate which must have often 
befallen the smaller reptiles of the coal forests in the 
natural post-holes left by the decay of the Sigillariae. 
Yet it may be readily understood that the combination 
of circumstances which would effect this result must 
have been rare, and consequently this curious fact has 
been as yet observed only in the coal formation of 
Nova Scotia j and in it only in one locality, and in 


this in one only out of more than sixty beds in which 
erect trees have been found. But these hollow trees 
must be filled up in order to preserve their contents ; 
and as inundation and subsequent decay have been the 
grave-diggers for the reptiles, so inundations filled up 
their graves with sand, to be subsequently hardened 
into sandstone, burying up at the same time the newer 
vegetation which had grown upon the former surface. 
The idea that something interesting might be found in 
these erect stumps, first occurred to Sir C. Lyell and 
the writer while exploring the beautiful coast cliffs 
of Western Nova Scotia in 1851; and it was in ex- 
amining the fragments scattered on the beach that 
we found the bones of the first Carboniferous reptile 
discovered in America, and the shell of the oldest 
known land snail. 

These were not, however, the earliest known in- 
stances of Carboniferous reptiles. In 1841, Sir William 
Logan found footprints of a reptile at Horton Bluff, in 
Nova Scotia, in rocks of Lower Carboniferous age. 
In 1844, Yon Dechen found reptilian bones in the coal- 
field of Saarbruck ; and in the same year Dr. King 
found reptilian footprints in the Carboniferous of 
Pennsylvania. Like Kobinson Crusoe on his desert 
island, we saw the footprints before we knew the 
animals that produced them; and the fact that there 
were marks on a slab of shale or sandstone that must 
have been made by an animal walking on feet, was as 
clear and startling a revelation of the advent of a new 
and higher form of life, as were the footprints of Man 


Friday. Within the forty years since the discovery 
of the first slab of footprints, the knowledge of coal 
formation reptiles has grown apace. I can scarcely at 
present sum up exactly the number of species, but 
may estimate it at 150 at the least. I must, how- 
ever, here crave pardon of some of my friends for the 
use of the word reptile. In my younger days frogs 
and toads and newts used to be reptiles ; now we are 
told that they are more like fishes, and ought to be 
called Batrachians or Amphibians, whereas reptiles are 
a higher type, more akin to birds than to these lower 
and more grovelling creatures. The truth is, that the 
old class Reptilia bridges over the space between the 
fishes and the birds, and it is in some degree a matter 
of taste whether we make a strong line at the two 
ends of it alone, or add another line in the middle. I 
object to the latter course, however, in the period oi 
the world's history of which I am now writing, since I 
am sure that there were animals in those days which 
were batrachians in some points and true reptiles in 
others; while there are some of them in regard to 
which it is quite uncertain whether they are nearer to 
the one group or the other. Although, therefore, 
naturalists, with the added light anc penetration 
which they obtain by striding on to the Mesozoic 
and Modern periods, may despise my old-fashioned 
grovellers among the mire of the coal-swamps, 1 
shall, for convenience, persist in calling them reptiles 
in a general way, and shall bring out whatever claims 
I can to justify this title for some of them at least. 


Perhaps the most fish-like of the whole are the 
curious creatures from the coal measures of Saarbruck, 
first found by Von Dechen, and which constitute the 
genus Arcliegosaurus. Their large heads, short necks, 
supports for permanent gills, feeble limbs, and long 
tails for swimming, show that they were aquatic 
creatures presenting many points of resemblance to 
the ganoid fishes with which they must have asso- 
ciated ; still they were higher than these in possessing 
lungs and true feet, though perhaps better adapted 
for swimming than even for creeping. 

From these creatures the other coal reptiles diverge, 
and ascend along two lines of progress, the one lead- 
ing to gigantic crocodile-like animals provided with 
powerful jaws and teeth, and probably haunting the 
margins of the waters and preying on fishes; the 
other leading to small and delicate lizard-like species, 
with well-developed limbs, large ribs, and ornate 
horny scales and spines, living on land and feeding 
on insects and similar creatures. 

In the first direction we have a considerable num- 
ber of species found in the Jarrow coal-field in Ireland, 
and described by Professor Huxley. Some of them 
were like snakes in their general form, others more 
like lizards. Still higher stand such animals as 
Baplietes and Eosaurus from the Nova Scotia coal-field 
and Anthracosaurus from that of Scotland. The style 
and habits of these creatures it is easy to understand, 
however much haggling the comparative anatomists 
may make over their bones. They were animals of 




various size, ranging from a fooc to at least ten feet 
in length, the body generally lizard-like in form, 
with stout limbs and a flattened tail useful in swim- 
ming. Their heads were flat, stoat, and massive, with 



large teeth, strengthened by the insertion and con- 
volution of plates of enamel. The fore limbs were 
probably larger than the hind limbs, the better to 
enable them to raise themselves out of the water. 


The belly was strengthened by bony plates and closely 
imbricated scales, to resist, perhaps, the attacks of 
fishes from beneath, and to enable them without 
injury to drag their heavy bodies over trunks of trees 
and brushwood, whether in the water or on the land. 
Their general aspect and mode of life were therefore 
by no means unlike those of modern alligators ; and 
in the vast swamps of the coal measures, full of ponds 
and sluggish streams swarming with fish, such crea- 
tures must have found a most suitable habitat, and 
probably existed in great numbers, basking on the 
muddy banks, surging through the waters, and filling 
the air with their bellowings. The most curious point 
about these creatures is, that while rigid anatomy 
regards them as allied in structure more to frogs and 
toads and newts than to true lizards, it is obvious to 
common sense that they were practically crocodiles; 
and even anatomy must admit that their great ribs 
and breastplates, and powerful teeth and limbs, in- 
dicate a respiration, circulation, and general vitality, 
quite as high as those of the proper reptiles. Hence, 
it happens that very different views are stated as to 
their affinities ; questions into which we need not now 
enter, satisfied with the knowledge of the general ap- 
pearance and mode of life of these harbingers of the 
reptilian life of the succeeding geological periods. 

In the other direction, we find several animals of 
small size but better developed limbs, leading to a 
group of graceful little creatures, quite as perplexing 
with regard to affinities as those first mentioned, but 


tending towards the smaller lizards of the modern 
world. At the top of these I may place the genus 
Hylonomus from hollow fossil trees of Nova Scotia, 
of which two species are represented as restored in 
our illustration. In these restorations I have adhered 
as faithfully as possible to the proportions of parts as 
seen in my specimens. Imagine a little animal six 
or seven inches long, with small short head, not so 
flat as those of most lizards, but with a raised fore- 
head, giving it an aspect of some intelligence. Its 
general form is that of a lizard, but with the hind 
feet somewhat large, to aid it in leaping and standing 
erect, and long and flexible toes. Its belly is covered 
with bony scales, its sides with bright and probably 
coloured scale armour of horny consistency, and its 
neck and back adorned with horny crests, tubercles, 
and pendants. It runs, leaps, and glides through the 
herbage of the coal forests, intent on the pursuit of 
snails and insects, its eye glancing and its bright 
scales shining in the sun. This is a picture of the 
best known species of Hylonomus drawn from the 
life. Yet the anatomist, when he examines the im- 
perfectly-ossified joints of its backbone, and the 
double joint afc the back of its skull, will tell you 
that it is after all little better than a mere newt, an 
ass in a lion's skin, a jackdaw with borrowed feathers, 
and that it has no right to have fine scales, or tc 
be able to run on the land. It may be so; but I may 
plead in its behalf, that in the old coal times, when 
reptiles with properly-made skeletons had not been 


created, the next best animals may have been entitled 
to wear their clothes and to assume their functions as 
well. In short, functionally or officially, our ancient 
batrachians were reptiles; in point of rank, as mea- 
sured by type of skeleton, they belonged to a lower 
grade. To this view of the case I think most natural- 
ists will agree, and they will also admit that the pro- 
gress of our views has been in this direction, since 
the first discovery of Carboniferous air-breathing 
vertebrates. In evidence of this I may quote from 
Professor Huxley's description of his recently found 
species * After noticing the prevalent views that the 
coal reptiles were of low organization, he says : " Dis- 
coveries in the Nova Scotia coal-fields first shook 
this view, which ceased to be tenable when the great 
Anthracosaurus of the Scotch coal-field was found to 
have well-ossified biconcave vertebrae/' 

The present writer may, however, be suspected of 
a tendency to extend forms of life backward in time, 
since it has fallen to his lot to be concerned in this 
process of stretching backward in several cases. He 
has named and described the oldest known animal. 
He has described the oldest true exogen, and the 
oldest known pine-tree. He was concerned in the 
discovery of the oldest known land snails, and found 
the oldest millipedes. He has just described the 
oldest bituminous bed composed of spore-cases, and 
he claims that his genus Hylonomus includes the 

* Geological Magazine, vol. iii. 


oldest animals which have a fair claim to be considered 
reptiles. Still this discovery of old things comes 
rather of fortune and careful search than of a desire 
to innovate ; and a distinction should be drawn be- 
tween that kind of novelty which consists in the 
development of new truths, and that which consists 
in the invention of new fancies, or the revival of old 
ones. There is too much of this last at present ; and 
it would be a more promising line of work for our 
younger naturalists, if they would patiently and 
honestly question nature, instead of trying to extort 
astounding revelations by throwing her on the rack 
of their own imaginations. 

We may pause here a moment to contemplate the 
greatness of the fact we have been studying the 
introduction into our world of the earliest known 
vertebrate animals which could open their nostrils 
and literally "breathe the breath of life." All pre- 
vious animals that we know, except scorpions and 
insects, had respired in the water by means of gills 
or similar apparatus. Now we not only have the 
little land snails, with their imperfect substitutes for 
lungs, but animals which must have been able to draw 
in the vital air into capacious chambered lungs, and 
with this power must have enjoyed a far higher and 
more active style of vitality; and must have pos- 
sessed the faculty of uttering truly vocal sounds. 
What wondrous possibilities unknown to these crea- 
tures, perhaps only dimly perceived by such rational 
intelligences as may have watched the growth of OUT 


young world, were implied in these gifts. It .is one 
of the remarkable points in the history of creation in 
Genesis, that this step of the creative work is emphat- 
ically marked. Of all the creatures we have noticed 
up to this point, it is stated that God said, " Let the 
waters bring them forth," but it is said that " God 
created" great reptiles (tanninim).* No doubt these 
" great tanninim" culminate in the succeeding Meso- 
zoic age, but their first introduction dates as far back 
as the Carboniferous, and this introduction was em- 
phatically a creation, as being the commencement of 
a new feature among living beings. What further 
differences may be implied in the formulae, " Let the 
waters produce" and " God created," we do not know; 
very probably he who wrote the words did not fully 
know. But if we could give a scientific expression 
to this difference, and specify the cases to which its 
terms apply, we might be able to solve one of the 
most vexed questions of biology. 

Let us observe, however, that even here, where, if 
anywhere, we have actual creation, especial pains are 
taken to bi'idge over the gap, and to prevent any 
appearance of discontinuity in the work. The ganoid 
fishes of the coal period very probably had, like their 
modern congeners, well-developed air-bladders, serv- 
ing to some extent, though very imperfectly, as lungs. 
The humbler and more aquatic reptiles of the period 
retained the gills, and also some of the other features 

* Not " whales," as in our version. 


of the fishes ; so that, like some modern creatures of 
their class, they stood, as to respiration, on two stools, 
and seemed unwilling altogether to commit them- 
selves to the new mode of life in the uncongenial ele- 
ment of air. Even the larger and more lizard-like of 
the coal reptiles may though this we do not certainly 
know, and in some cases there are reasons for doubting 
it have passed the earliest stage of their lives in the 
water as gilled tadpoles, in the manner of our modern 
frogs. Thus at the very point where one of the 
greatest advances of animal life has its origin, we 
have no sudden stop, but an inclined plane ; and yet, 
as I have elsewhere endeavoured to show by argu- 
ments which cannot be repeated here,* we have not a 
shadow of reason to conclude that, in the coal period, 
fishes were transmuted into reptiles. 

But the reader may be wearied with our long 
sojourn in the pestilential atmosphere of the coal 
swamps, and in the company of their low-browed and 
squalid inhabitants. Let us turn for a little to the 
sea, and notice the animal life of the great coral reefs 
and shell beds preserved for us in the Carboniferous 
limestone. Before doing so, one point merits atten- 
tion. The coal formation for the first time distinctly 
presents to us the now familiar differences in the 
inhabitants of the open sea and those of creeks, estu- 
aries and lakes. Such distinctions are unknown to 
us in the Silurian. There all is sea. They begin to 

* " Air -breathers of the Coal Period," p. 77. 


appear in the Devonian, in the shallow fish -banks am? 
the Anodon-like bivalves found with fossil plants 
In the coal period they become very manifest. The 
animals found in the shales with the coal are all, even 
the aquatic ones, distinct from those of the open seas 
of the period. Some of them may have lived in salt 
or brackish water, but not in the open sea. They are 
creatures of still and shallow waters. It is true that 
in some coal-fields marine beds occur in the coal 
measures with their characteristic fossils, but these 
are quite distinct from the usual animal remains of 
the coal-fields, and mark occasional overflows of the 
sea, owing to subsidence of the land. It is important 
to notice this geographical difference, marking the 
greater specialisation and division of labour, if we 
may so speak, that was in the process of introduction. 
The sea of the Carboniferous period presented in 
the main similar great groups of animals to those 
of the Devonian, represented however by different 
species. We may notice merely some of the salient 
points of resemblance or difference. The old types 
of corals continue in great force ; but it is their last 
time, for they rapidly decay in the succeeding Per- 
mian and disappear. The Crinoids are as numerous 
and beautiful as in any other period, and here for the 
first time we meet with the new and higher type of 
the sea-urchin, in lai-ge and beautiful species. One 
curious group, that of the Pentremites, a sort of larval 
form, is known here alone. Among the lamp-shells 
we may note, as peculiarly and abundantly Carboni- 


ferous, those with one valve very convex and the 
other very concave and anchored in the mud by long 
spines instead of a peduncle attached to stones and 
rocks.* There are many beautiful shells allied to 
modern scallops, and not a few sea-snails of various 
sorts. The grand Orthoceratites of the Silurian di- 
minish in size preparatory to their disappearance in 
the Permian, and the more modern type of Nautilus 
and its allies becomes prevalent. Among the Crus- 
taceans we may notice the appearance of the Limulus, 
or king-crab, of which the single little species de- 
scribed by Woodward from the Upper Silurian may 
be regarded as merely a prophecy. It is curious that 
the Carboniferous king-crabs are very small, appa- 
rently another case of a new form appearing in 
humble guise; but as the young of modern king- 
crabs haunt creeks and swampy flats, while the adults 
live in the sea, it may be that only the young of the 
Carboniferous species are yet known to us, the speci- 
mens found being mostly in beds likely to be fre- 
quented by the young rather than by the full-grown 

The old order of the Trilobites, which has accom- 
panied us from Primordial times, here fails us, and a 
few depauperated species alone remain, the sole sur- 
vivors of their ancient race small, unornamented, and 
feeble representatives of a once numerous and influen- 
tial tribe. How strange that a group of creatures so 
numerous and apparently so well adapted to conditions 
* The Productidse. 


of existence which still continue in the sea, should 
thus die out, while the little bivalved crustaceans, 
which began life almost as far back and lived on the 
same sea-floors with the Trilobites, should still abound 
in all our seas; and while the king-crabs, of precisely 
similar habits with the Trilobites, should apparently 
begin to prosper. Equally strange is the fate of the 
great swimming Eurypterids which we saw in the 
Devonian. They also continue, but in diminished 
force, in the Carboniferous, and there lay down for 
ever their well-jointed cuirasses and formidable wea- 
pons, while a few little shrimp-like creatures, their 
contemporaries, form the small point of the wedge 
of our great tribes of squillas and crabs and lobsters. 
Some years ago the late lamented palaeontologist, 
Salter, a man who scarcely leaves his equal in his 
department, in conjunction with Mr. Henry Wood- 
ward, prepared a sort of genealogical chart of the 
Crustacea on which these facts are exhibited. Some 
new species have since been discovered, and a little 
additional light about affinities has been obtained ; 
but taken as it stands, the history of the Crustacea as 
there shown in one glance, has in it more teaching 
on the philosophy of creation than I have been able 
to find in many ponderous quartos of tenfold its pre- 
tensions. Had Salter been enabled, with the aid of 
other specialists like Woodward, to complete similar 
charts of other classes of invertebrate animals, scien- 
tific palgeontology in England would have been further 
advanced than it is likely to be in the next ten years, 


To return to our Trilobites : one of the most re. 
markable points in their history is their appearance 
in full force in the Primordial. In these rocks we 
have some of the largest in size some species of 
Paradoxides being nearly two feet long, and some of 
the very smallest. We have some with the most nu- 
merous joints, others with the fewest; some with very 
large tails, others with very small ; some with no 
ornamentation, others very ornate; some with large 
eyes, others with none that have been made out, 
though it is scarcely probable that they were wholly 
blind. They increased in numbers and variety through 
the Silurian and Devonian, and then suddenly drop 
off at the end of the Lower Carboniferous. Through- 
out their whole term of existence t\ey kept rigidly 
to that type of the mud-plough which the king-crab 
still retains, and which renders the anterior extrem- 
ity so different from that of the ordinary Crustacea. 
They constitute one of the few cases in which we seem 
to see before us the whole history of an animal type ; 
and the more we look into that history, the more do 
we wonder at their inscrutable introduction, the unity 
and variety mingled in their progress, and their 
strange and apparently untimely end. I have already 
referred (page 95) to tho use which Barrande makes 
of this as an argument against theories of evolution; 
but must refer to his work for the details. 

One word more I must say before leaving their 
graves. I have reason to believe that they were 
not only the diggers of the burrows, and of the 


ladder-tracks and pitted tracks* of the Silurian and 
Primordial, but that with the strokes of their rounded 
or spinous tails, the digging of their snouts, and the 
hoe-work of their hard upper lips, or Hypostomes, 
they made nearly all those strange marks in the Pri- 
mordial mud which have been referred to fucoids, and 
even to higher plants. The Trilobites worked over 
all the mud bottoms of the Primordial, even in places 
^here no remains of them occur, and the peculiarities 
of the markings which they left are to be explained 
only by a consideration of the structures of individual 

I had almost lost sight of the fishes of the Carboni- 
ferous period, but after saying so much of those of 
the Devonian, it would be unfair to leave their suc- 
cessors altogether unnoticed. In the Carboniferous 
we lose those broad-snouted plate-covered species 
that form so conspicuous a feature in the Devonian; 
and whatever its meaning, it is surely no accident 
that these mud-burrowing fishes should decay along 
with those crustacean mud-burrovvers, the Trilobites. 
But swarms of fishes remain, confined, as in the De- 
vonian, wholly to the two orders of the Gar-fishes 
(Ganoids) and the sharks (Placoids). In the former 
we have a multitude of small and beautiful species 
haunting the creeks and ponds of the coal swamps, 
and leaving vast quantities of their remains in the 
shaly and even coaly beds formed in such places. 
Such were the pretty, graceful fishes of the genera 
* Cliinactichnittm and Protichnitcs. 


Palceoniscus and Atnblypterus. Pursuing and feeding 
on these were larger ganoids, armed with strong bony 
scales, and formidable conical or sharp-edged teeth. 
Of these were Ehizodus and Acrolepis. There were 
besides multitudes of sharks whose remains consist 
almost wholly of their teeth and spines, their cartila- 
ginous skeletons having perished. One group was 
allied to the few species of modern sharks whose 
mouths are paved with flat teeth for crushing shells. 
These were the most abundant sharks of the Carboni- 
ferous slow and greedy monsters, haunting shell 
banks and coral reefs, and grinding remorselessly all 
the shell-fishes that came in their way. There were 
also sharks furnished with sharp and trenchant teeth, 
which must have been the foes of the smaller mailed 
fishes, pursuing them into creeks and muddy shallows ; 
and if we may judge from the quantity of their re- 
mains in some of these places, sometimes perishing 
in their eager efforts. On the whole, the fishes of the 
Carboniferous were, in regard to their general type, a 
continuation of those of the Devonian, but the sharks 
and the scaly ganoids were relatively more numerous. 
They differed from our modern fishes in the absence 
of the ordinary horny-scaled type to which all our 
more common fishes belong, and in the prevalence of 
that style of tail which has been termed " heterocer- 
cal," in which the continuation of the backbone forms 
the upper lobe of the tail, a style which, if we may 
judge from modern examples, gives more power of 
upward and downward movement, and is especially 


suitable to fishes which search for food only at the 
bottom, or only above the surface of the waters. 

Most reluctantly I must here leave one of the most 
remarkable periods of the world's history, and reserve 
to our next chapter the summation of the historv of 
the older world of life in its conducting stage, the 



THE immense swamps and low forest-clad plaius 
which occupied the continental areas of the Northern 
Hemisphere, and which we now know extended also 
into the regions south of the equator, appear at the 
close of the Carboniferous age to have again sunk 
beneath the waves, or to have relapsed into the con- 
dition of sand and gravel banks ; for a great thickness 
of such deposits rests on the coal measures and con- 
stitutes the upper coal formation, the upper "barren 
measures" of the coal-miners. There is something 
grand in the idea of this subsidence of a world of 
animal and vegetable life beneath the waters. The 
process was very slow, so slow that at first vegetable 
growth and deposition of silt kept pace with it ; and 
this is the reason of the immense series of deposits, 
in some places nearly 15,000 feet thick, which inclose 
or rest upon the coal beds ; but at length it became 
more rapid, so that forests and their inhabitants 
perished, and the wild surf drifted sand and pebbles 
over their former abodes. So the Carboniferous 
world, like that of Noah, being overflowed with 
water, perished. But it was not a wicked world 
drowned for its sins, but merely an old and neces- 
sarily preliminary system, which had fully served its 


purpose; and, like the stubble of last year, must be 
turned under by the plough, that it may make way 
for a new verdure. The plough passed over it, and 
the winter of the Permian came, and then the spring 
of a new age. 

The Permian and the succeeding Triassic are some- 
what chilly and desolate periods of the earth's history. 
The one is the twilight of the Palaeozoic day, the other 
is the dawn of the Mesozoic. Yet to the philosophical 
geologist no ages excel them in interest. They are 
times of transition, when old dynasties and races pass 
away and are replaced by new and vigorous successors, 
founding new empires and introducing new modes of 
life and action. 

Three great leading points merit our attention in 
entering on the Permian age. The first is the earth- 
movements of the period. The second is the resulting 
mineral characteristics of the deposits formed. The 
third is the aspect of the animal and vegetable life of 
this age in their relation more especially to those which 

With respect to the first point above named, the 
earth's crust was subjected in the Permian period to 
some of the grandest movements which have occurred 
in the whole course of geologic time, and we can fix 
the limits of these, in Europe and America at least, 
with some distinctness. If we examine the Permian 
rocks in England and Germany, we shall find that 
they generally lie on the upturned edges of the 
preceding Carboniferous beds. In other v/ords, the 



latter have been thrown into a series of folds, and the 
tops of these folds have been more or less worn away 
before the Permian beds were placed on them. But 
if we pass on to the eastward, in the great plain 
between the Volga and the Ural mountains, where, in 
the " ancient kingdom of Perm," the greatest known 
area of these rocks is found, an area equal in extent to 
twice that of France, and which Sir R. I. Murchison, 
who first proposed the name, took as the typical 
district, we find, on the contrary, that the Permian and 
Carboniferous are conformable to one another. If 
now we cross the Atlantic and inquire how the case 
stands in America, we shall find it precisely the same. 
Here the great succession of earth- waves constituting 
che Appalachian Mountains rises abruptly at the eastern 
edge of the continent, and becomes flatter and flatter, 
until, in the broad plains west of the Mississippi, the 
Permian beds appear, as in Russia, resting upon the 
Carboniferous so quietly that it is not always easy to 
draw a line of separation between them. As Dana 
has remarked, we find at the western side of Europe 
and the eastern side of America, great disturbances 
inaugurating the Permian period ; and in the interior 
of both, in the plains between the Volga and the Ural 
in one, and between the Mississippi and Rocky Moun- 
tains in the other, an entire absence of these disturb- 
ances. The main difference is, that in eastern America 
the whole Carboniferous areas have apparently been so 
raised up that little Permian was deposited on them, 
while in Europs considerable patches of the disturbed 


areas became or remained submerged. Another 
American geologist has largely illustrated the fact 
that the movements which threw up the Appalachian 
folds were strongest to the eastward, and that the 
ridges of rock are steepest on their west sides, the 
force which caused them acting from the direction of 
the sea. It seems as if the Atlantic area had wanted 
elbow-room, and had crushed up the edges of the 
continents next to it. In other words, in the lapse oi 
the Palaeozoic ages the nucleus of the earth had shrunk 
away from its coating of rocky layers, which again 
collapsed into great wrinkles. 

Such a process may seem difficult of comprehension. 
To understand it we must bear in mind some of its 
conditions. First, the amount of this wrinkling was 
extremely small relatively to the mass of the earth. 
In the diagram on page 162 it is greatly exag- 
gerated, yet is seen to be quite insignificant, however 
gigantic in comparison with microscopic weaklings 
like ourselves. Secondly, it was probably extremely 
slow. Beds of solid rock cannot be suddenly bent into 
great folds without breaking, and the abruptness of 
some of the folds may be seen from our figure, copied 
from Eogers (page 162), of some of the foldings of the 
Appalachian Mountains. Thirdly, the older rocks 
below the Carboniferous and the Devonian must have 
been in a softened and plastic state, and so capable of 
filling up the vacancies left by the bending of the hard 
crust above. In evidence of this, we have in the Lower 
Permian immense volcanic ejections lavas and other 


molten rocks spewed out to the surface from the 
softened and molten masses below. Fourthly, the 
basin of the Atlantic must have been sufficiently strong 
to resist the immense lateral pressure, so that the 
yielding was all concentrated on the weaker parts of 
the crust near the old fractures at the margins of the 
great continents. In these places also, as we have 
seen in previous papers, the greatest thickness of 
deposits had been formed; so that there was great 
downward pressure, and probably, also, greater soften- 
ing of the lower part of the crust. Fifthly, as sug- 
gested in a previous chapter, the folding of the earth's 
crust may have resulted from the continued shrinkage 
of its interior in consequence of cooling, leading after 
long intervals to collapse of the surface. Astronomers 
have, however, suggested another cause. The earth 
bulges at the equator, and is flattened at the poles in 
consequence of, or in connection with, the swiftness 
01 its rotation ; but it has been shown that the rotation 
of the earth is being very gradually lessened by the 
attraction of the moon.* Pierce has recently brought 
forward the idea f that this diminution of rotation, by 
causing the crust to subside in the equatorial regions 
and expand in the polar, might produce the move- 
ments observed j and which, according to Lesley, have 
amounted in the whole course of geological time to 
about two per cent, of the diameter of our globe. We 

* Sir William Thomson, who quotes Adams and Delaunay. 
t " Nature," February, 1871. 


thus have two causes, either of which seems sufficient 
to produce the effect. 

Viewed in this way, the great disturbances at the 
close of the Palaeozoic period constitute one of the 
most instructive examples in the whole history of the 
earth of that process of collapse to which the crust 
was subject .after long intervals, and of which no 
equally great instance occurs except at the close of 
the Laurentian and the close of the Mesozoic. The 
mineral peculiarities of the Permian are also accounted 
for by the above considerations. Let us now notice 
some of these. In nearly all parts of the world the 
Permian presents thick beds of red sandstone and 
conglomerate as marked ingredients. These, as we 
have already seen, are indications of rapid deposition 
accompanying changes of level. In the Permian, as 
elsewhere, these beds are accompanied by volcanic 
rocks, indicating the subterranean causes of the dis- 
turbances. Again, these rocks are chiefly abundant in 
those regions, like Western Europe, where the physical 
changes were at a maximum. Another remarkable 
feature of the Permian rocks is the occurrence of great 
beds of magnesian limestone, or dolomite. In England, 
the thick yellow magnesian limestone, the outcrop of 
which crosses in nearly a straight line through Dur- 
ham, Yorkshire, and Nottingham, marks the edge of 
a great Permian sea extending far to the eastward. 
In the marls and sandstones of the Permian period 
there is also much gypsum. Now, chemistry shows us 
that magnesian limestones and gypsums are likely to 


bo deposited where sea water, which always contains 
salts of magnesia, is evaporating in limited or circum- 
scribed areas into which carbonate of lime and carbon- 
ate of soda are being carried by streams from the land 
or springs from below;* and it is also to be observed 
that solutions of sulphuric acid, and probably also of 
sulphate of magnesia, are characteristic products of 
igneous activity. Hence we find in various geological 
periods magnesian limestones occurring as a deposit in 
limited shallow sea basins, and also in connection with 
volcanic breccias. Now these were obviously the new 
Permian conditions of what had once been the wide 
flat areas of the Carboniferous period. Still further, 
we find in Europe, as characteristic of this period, 
beds impregnated with metallic salts, especially of 
copper. Of this kind are very markedly the copper 
slates of Thuringia. Such beds are not, any more 
than magnesian limestones, limited to this age; but 
they are eminently characteristic of it. To produce 
them it is required that water should bring forth from 
the earth's crust large quantities of metallic salts, and 
that these should come into contact with vegetable 
matters in limited submerged areas, so that sulphates 
of the metals should be deoxidized into sulphides. A 
somewhat different chemical process, as already ex- 
plained, was very active in the coal period, and was 
connected with the production of its iron ores; but, 
in the Permian, profound and extensive fractures 
opened up the way to the deep seats of copper and 
* Punt, " Silliman's Journal," 189 and lbt>8. 


other metals, to enrich the copper slate and its associ- 
ated beds. It is also to be observed that the alkaline 
springs and waters which contain carbonate of soda, 
very frequently hold various metallic salts; so that 
where, owing to the action of such waters, magnesian 
limestone is being deposited, we may expect also to 
find various metallic ores. 

Let us sum up shortly this history. We have fold- 
ings of the earth's crnst, causing volcanic action and 
producing limited and shallow sea-basins, and at the 
same time causing the evolution of alkaline and metal- 
liferous springs. The union of these mechanical and 
chemical causes explains at once the conglomerates, 
the red sandstones, the trap rocks, the magnesian lime- 
stones, the gypsum, and the metalliferous beds of the 
Permian. The same considerations explain the occur- 
rence of similar deposits in various other ages of the 
earth's history; though, perhaps, in none of these 
were they so general over the Northern Hemisphere as 
in the Permian. 

From the size of the stones in some of the Permian 
conglomerates, and their scratched surfaces, it has 
been supposed that there were in this period, on the 
margins of the continents, mountains sufficiently high 
to have snow-clad summits, and to send down glaciers, 
bearing rocks and stones to the sea, on which may 
have floated, as now in the North Atlantic, huge ice- 
bergs.* This would be quite in accordance with the 

* Ramsay has ably illustrated this in the Permian conglomer- 
ates of England. 


great elevation of land which we know actually occur- 
red ; and the existence of snow-clad mountains along 
with volcanoes would be a union of fire and frost of 
which we still have examples in some parts of the 
earth's surface, and this in proximity to forms of 
vegetable life very similar to those which we know 
existed in the Permian. 

With the exception of a few beds in Bohemia 
and in Russia, the Permian is not known to contain 
any coal. The great swamps of the coal period had 
disappeared. In part they were raised up into 
rugged mountains. In part they were sunken into 
shallow sea areas. Thus, while there was much dry 
land, there was little opportunity for coal production, 
or for the existence of those rank forests which had 
accumulated so much vegetable matter in the Car- 
boniferous age. In like manner the fauna of the 
Permian waters is poor. According to Murchison, 
the Permian limestones of Europe have afforded little 
more than one-third as many species of fossils as the 
older Carboniferous. The fossils themselves also have 
a stunted and depauperated aspect, indicating con- 
ditions of existence unfavourable to them. This is 
curiously seen in contrasting Davidson's beautiful il- 
lustrations of the British Lamp-shells of the Permian 
and Carboniferous periods. Another illustrative fact 
is the exceptionally small size of the fossils even in 
limestones of the Carboniferous period when these are 
associated with gypsum, red sandstones, and magne- 
eian minerals ; as, for instance, those of some parts of 


Nova Scotia. In truth, the peculiar chemical condi- 
tions conducive to the production of magnesian lime- 
stones and gypsum are not favourable to animal life, 
though no doubt compatible with its existence. Hence 
the rich fauna of the Carboniferous seas died out in the 
Permian, and was not renewed ; and the Atlantic areas 
of the period are unknown to us. They were, how- 
ever, probably very deep and abrupt in slope, and not 
rich in life. This would be especially the case if they 
were desolated by cold ice-laden currents. 

During the Permian period there was in each of 
our continental areas a somewhat extensive inland sea. 
That of Western America was a northward extension 
of the Gulf of Mexico. That of Eastern Europe 
was a northward extension of the Euxine and Caspian. 
In both, the deposits formed were very similar mag- 
nesian limestones, sandstones, conglomerates, marls, 
and gypsums. In both, these alternate in such a way 
as to show that there were frequent oscillations of 
level, producing alternately shallow and deep waters. 
In both, the animal remains are of similar species, in 
many instances even identical. But in the areas inter- 
vening between these sea basins and the Atlantic the 
conditions were somewhat different. In Europe the 
land was interrupted by considerable water areas, not 
lakes, but inland sea basins ; sometimes probably con- 
nected with the open sea, sometimes isolated. In these 
were deposited the magnesian limestone and its 
associated beds in England, and the Zechstein and 
Rotheliegende with their associates in Germany. In 


America the case was different. In all that immense 
area which extends from the Atlantic to the plains 
east of the Mississippi, we know bat little Permian, 
though a portion of the rocks reckoned as Permo- 
carboniferous in Northern Nova Scotia, Prince 
Edward Island, and Virginia, should probably be 
included in this group. If once more extensive, they 
may possibly be covered up in some places by more 
modern deposits, or may have been swept away by 
denudation in the intervening ages ; but even in these 
cases we should expect to find larger remains of them. 
Their absence would seem to indicate that a vast, and 
in many parts rugged and elevated, continent repre- 
sented North America in the Permian period. We 
know something of the animals and plants which lived 
on this continent, and that, while the plants are 
closely allied to those of the Carboniferous, the reptiles 
present points of approximation to those of the 

Our picture of the Permian World has not been 
inviting, yet in many respects it was a world more like 
that in which we live than was any previous one. It 
certainly presented more of variety and grand physical 
features than any of the previous ages ; and we might 
have expected that on its wide and varied continents 
some new and higher forms of life would have been 
introduced. But it seems rather to have been intended 
to blot out the old Palaeozoic life, as an arrangement 
which had been fully tried and served its end, pre- 
paratory to a new beginning in the succeeding age. 


Still the Permian has some life features of its own, 
and we must now turn to these. The first is the oc- 
currence here, not only of the representatives of the 
great Batrachians of the coal period, but of true rep- 
tiles, acknowledged to be such by all naturalists. The 
animals of the genus Protorosaurus, found in rocks of 
this age both in England and Germany, were highly- 
organised lizards, having socketed teeth like those of 
crocodiles, and well-developed limbs, with long tails, 
perhaps adapted for swimming. They have, however, 
biconcave vertebrae like the lizard-like animals of tho 
coal already mentioned, which, indeed, in their general 
form and appearance, they must have very closely 
resembled. The Protorosaurs were not of great size ; 
but they must have been creatures of more stately gait 
than their Carboniferous predecessors, and they serve 
to connect them with the new and greater reptiles of 
the next period. 

Another interesting feature of the Permian is its 
flora, which, in so far as known, is closely related to 
that of the coal period, though the species are regarded 
as different; some of the forms, however, being so 
similar as to be possibly identical. In a picture of the 
Permian flora we should perhaps place in the fore- 
ground the tree-ferns, which seem to have been very 
abundant, and furnished with dense clusters of aerial 
roots to enable them to withstand the storms of this 
boisterous age. The tree-ferns, now so plentiful in the 
southern hemisphere, should be regarded as one of the 
permanent vegetable institutions of our world those 


of the far-back Lower Devonian, and of all intervening 
ages up to the present day, having been very much 
alike. The great reed-like Calamites have had a dif- 
ferent fate. In their grander forms they make their 
last appearance in the Permian, where they culminate 
in great ribbed stems, sometimes nearly a foot in 
diameter, and probably of immense height. The brakes 
of these huge mares'-tails which overspread the lower 
levels of the Persian in Europe, would have been to 
us what the hayfields of Brobdingnag were to Gulliver. 
The Lepidodendra also swarmed, though in diminished 
force; but the great SigillariaB of the coal are absent, 
or only doubtfully present. Another feature of the 
Permian woods was the presence of many pine-trees 
different in aspect from those of the coal period. Some 
of these are remarkable for their slender and delicate 
branches and foliage.* Others have more dense and 
scaly leaves, and thick short cones.f Both of these 
styles of pines are regarded as distinct, on the one 
hand, from those of the coal formation, and on the 
other from those of the succeeding Trias. I have 
shown, however, many years ago, that in the upper 
coal formation of America there are branches of pine- 
trees very similar to Walchia, and, on the other hand, 
the Permian pines are not very remote in form and 
structure from some of their modern relations. The 
pines of the first of the above-mentioned types 
(Walchia) may indeed be regarded as allies of the 
modern Araucarian pines of the southern hemisphere, 
* Walchia t Ulmannia. 


and of the old conifers of the Carboniferous. Those of 
the second type (Ulmannia) may be referred to the 
same group with the magnificent Sequoias or Red- 
woods of California. 

It is a curious indication of the doubts which some- 
times rest on fossil botany, that some of the branches 
of these Permian pines, when imperfectly preserved, 
have been described as sea-weeds, while others have 
been regarded as club-mosses. It is true, however, 
that the resemblance of some of them to the latter 
class of plants is very great ; and were there no older 
pines, we might be pardoned for imagining in the Per- 
mian a transition from club-mosses to pines. Un- 
fortunately, however, we have pines nearly as far back 
in geological time as we have club-mosses ; and, in so 
far as we know, no more like the latter than are the 
pines of the Permian, so that this connection fails us. 
In all probability the Permian forests are much less 
perfectly known to us than those of the coal period, so 
that we can scarcely make comparisons. It appears 
certain, however, that the Permian plants are much 
more closely related to the coal plants than to those of 
the next succeeding epoch, and that they are not so 
much a transition from the one to the other as the 
finishing of the older period to make way for the newer. 

But we must reserve some space for a few remarks 
on the progress and termination of the Palaeozoic as 
a whole, and on the place which it occupies in the 
world's history. These remarks we may group around 
the central question, What is the meaning or value of 


an age or period in the history of the earth, as these 
terms are understood by geologists ? In most geolo- 
gical books terms referring to time are employed very 
loosely. Period, epoch, age, system, series, formation, 
and similar terms, are used or abused in a manner 
which only the indefiniteness of our conceptions can 

A great American geologist* has made an attempt 
to remedy this by attaching definite values to such 
words as those above mentioned. In his system the 
greater divisions of the history were " Times : " thus 
the Eozoic was a time and tlie Palaeozoic was a time. 
The larger divisions of the times are "Ages:" thus 
the Lower and Upper Silurian, the Devonian, and 
the Carboniferous are ages, which are equivalent in 
the main to what English geologists call Systems of 
Formations. Ages, again, may be divided into 
" Periods:" thus,, in the Upper Silurian, the Ludlow 
of England, or Lower Helderberg of America, would 
constitute a period. These periods may again be 
divided into " Epochs," which are equivalent to what 
English geologists call Formations, a term referring 
not directly to the time elapsed, but to the work done 
in it. Now this mode of regarding geological time 
introduces many thoughts as to the nature of our 
chronology and matters relating to it. A " time " in 
geology is an extremely long time, and the Palaeozoic 
was perhaps the longest of the whole. By the close 
of the Palseozoic nine-tenths of all the rocks we know 
* Dana. 


in the earth's crust were formed. At least this is the 
case if we reckon mere thickness. For aught that 
we know, the Eozoic time may have accumulated as 
much rock as the Paleeozoic; but leaving this out of 
the question, the rocks of the Palaeozoic are vastly 
thicker than those of the Mesozoic and Cainozoic 
united. Thus the earth's history seems to have 
dragged slowly in its earlier stages, or to have 
become accelerated in its latter times. To place it 
in another point of view, life changes were greater 
relatively to merely physical changes in the later 
than in the earlier times. 

The same law seems to Lave obtained within the 
Paleeozoic time itself. Its older periods, as the 
Cambrian and Lower Silurian, present immense 
thicknesses of rock with little changes in life. Its 
later periods, the Carboniferous and Permian, have 
greater life-revolution relatively to less thickness of 
deposits. This again was evidently related to the 
growing complexity and variety of geographical con- 
ditions, which went on increasing all the way up to 
the Permian, Avhen they attained their maximum for 
the Paleeozoic time. 

Again, each age was signalized, over the two great 
continental plateaus, by a like series of elevations and 
depressions. We may regard the Siluro-Cambrian, 
the Silurian, the Devonian, the Carboniferous, and Per- 
mian, as each of them a distinct age. Each of these 
began with physical disturbances and coarse shallow 
water deposits. In each this was succeeded by sub- 


sidence and by a sea area tenanted by corals and 
shell-fishes. In each case this was followed by a 
re-elevation, leading to a second but slow and partial 
subsidence, to be followed by the great re-elevation 
preparatory to the next period. Thus we have 
throughout the Palaeozoic a series of cycles of 
physical change which we may liken to gigantic 
pulsations of the thick hide of mother earth. The 
final catastrophe of the Permian collapse was quite 
different in kind from these pulsations as well as 
much greater in degree. The Cambrian or Prim- 
ordial does not apparently present a perfect cycle 
of this kind, perhaps because in that early period 
the continental plateaus were not yet definitely 
formed, and thus its beds are rather portions of the 
general oceanic deposit. In this respect it is analo- 
gous in geological relations to the chalk formation 
of a later age, though very different in material. 
The Cambrian may, however, yet vindicate its claim 
to be regarded as a definite cycle ; and the recent 
discoveries of Hicks in North Wales, have proved 
the existence of a rich marine fauna far down in the 
lower part of this system. It is also to be observed 
that the peculiar character of the Cambrian, as an 
oceanic bottom rather than a continental plateau, 
has formed an important element in the difficulties 
in establishing it as a distinct group; just as a 
similar difficulty in the case of the chalk has led 
to a recent controversy about the continuance of the 
conditions of that period into modern times. 


But in each of the great successive heaves or pul- 
sations of the Palaeozoic earth, there waa * growing 
balance in favour of the land as compared with the 
water. In each successive movement more and more 
elevated land was thrown up, until the Permian flexures 
finally fixed the forms of our continents. This may be 
made evident to the eye in a series of curves, as in the 
following diagram, in which I have endeavoured to 
show the recurrence of similar conditions in each of 
the great periods of the Palaeozoic, and thus their 
equivalency to each other as cycles of the earth's 

There is thus in these great continental changes a 
law of recurrence and a law of progress ; but as to the 
efficient causes of the phenomena we have as yet little 
information. It seems that original fractures and 
shrinkages of the crust were concerned in forming the 
continental areas at first. Once formed, unequal 
burdening of the earth's still plastic mass by deposits 
of sediment in the waters, and unequal expansion by 
the heating and crystallization of immense thicknesses 
of the sediment, may have done the rest ; but the re- 
sults are surprisingly regular to be produced by such 
causes. We shall also find that similar cycles can be 
observed in the geological ages which succeeded the 
Palaeozoic. Geologists have hitherto for the most part 
been content to assign these movements to causes 
purely terrestrial ; but it is difficult to avoid the sus- 
picion that the succession of geological cycles must 
have depended on some recurring astronomical force 


Carb. Conglomerate. 

Coal Formation. 
Permian Conglomerate. 

Magnesian Limestone. 


tending to cause the weaker parts of the earth's crust 
alternately to rise and subside at regular intervals of 
time. Herschel, Adhemar, and more recently Croll, 
have directed attention to astronomical cycles supposed 
to have important influences on the temperature of the 
earth. Whether these or other changes may have 
acted on the equilibrium of its crust is a question well 
worthy of attention, as its solution might give us an 
astronomical measure of geological time. This question, 
however, the geologist must refer to the astronomer. 

There are two notes of caution which must here be 
given to the reader. First, it is not intended to apply 
the doctrine of continental oscillations to the great 
oceanic areas. Whether they became shallower or 
deeper, their conditions would be different from those 
which occurred in the great shallow plateaus, and these 
conditions are little known to us. Further, throughout 
the Palaeozoic period, the oscillations do not seem to 
have been sufficient to reverse the positions of the 
oceans and continents. Secondly, it is not meant to 
affirm that the great Permian plications were so wide- 
spread in their effects as to produce a universal de- 
struction of life. On the contrary, after they had 
occurred, remnants of the Carboniferous fauna still 
flourished even on the surfaces of the continents, and 
possibly the inhabitants of the deep ocean were little 
affected by these great movements. True it is that the 
life of the Palaeozoic terminates with the Permian, but 
not by a great and cataclysmic overthrow. 

We know something at least of the general laws of 


continental oscillations during the Palaeozoic. Do we 
know anything of law in the case of life ? The question 
raises so many and diverse considerations that it seems 
vain to treat it in the end of a chapter ; still we must 
try to outline it with at least a few touches. 

First, then, the life of the Palaeozoic was remarkable, 
as compared with that of the present world, in pre- 
senting a great prevalence of animals and plants of 
synthetic types, as they are called by Agassiz that is, 
of creatures comprehending in one the properties of 
several groups which were to exist as distinct in the 
future. Such types are also sometimes called em- 
bryonic, because the young of animals and plants often 
show these comprehensive features. Such types were 
the old corals, presenting points of alliance with two 
distinct groups now widely separated; the old Trilo- 
bites, half king-crabs and half Isopods ; the Amphibians 
of the coal, part fish, part newt, and part crocodile ; the 
Sigillariae, part club-mosses and part pines ; the Ortho- 
ceratites, half nautili and half cuttle-fishes. I proposed, 
in the illustration in a former article, to give a restora- 
tion of one of the curious creatures last mentioned, the 
Orthoceratites ; but on attempting this, with the idea 
that, as usually supposed, they were straight Nautili, 
it appeared that the narrow aperture, the small outer 
chamber, the thin outer wall, often apparently only mem- 
branous, and the large siphuncle, would scarcely admit 
of this ; and I finished by representing it as something 
like a modern squid; perhaps wrongly, but it was 
evidently somewhere between them and the Nautili. 


Secondly, these synthetic types often belonged to 
the upper part of a lower group, or to the lower part 
of an upper group. Hence in one point of view they 
may be regarded as of high grade, in another as of low 
grade, and they are often large in size or in vegetative 
development.* From this law have arisen many con- 
troversies about the grade and classification of the 
Palaeozoic animals and plants. 

Thirdly, extinctions of species occur in every great 
oscillation of the continental areas, but some species 
reappear after such oscillations, and the same genus 
often recurs under new specific forms. Families and 
orders, such as those of the Trilobites and Orthocera- 
tites, appear to have a grand and gradual culmination 
and decadence extending over several successive 
periods, or even over the whole stretch of the Palaeo- 
zoic time. Toward the close of the Palaeozoic, while 
all the species disappear, some whole families and 
orders are altogether dropped, and, being chiefly 
synthetic groups, are replaced by more specialised 
types, some of which, however, make small beginnings 
alongside of the more general types which are passing 
away. Our diagram (page 183) illustrates these points. 

Fourthly, the progress in animal life in the Pala3ozoic 
related chiefly to the lower or invertebrate tribes, and 

* It seems, indeed, as if the new synthetic forms intermediate 
between great groups were often large in size, while the new 
special types came in as small species. There are some remark- 
able cases of this in the plant world ; though here we have such 
examples as the pines and tree-ferns continuing almost un- 
changed from an early Palaeozoic period until now. 


to the two lower classes of the vertebrates. The oldest 
animal known to us is not only a creature of the 
simplest structure, but also a representative of that 
great and on the whole low type of animal life, in which 
the parts are arranged around a central axis, and not 
on that plan of bilateral symmetry which constitutes 
one great leading distinction of the higher animals. 
With the Cambrian, bilateral animals abound and be> 
long to two very distinct lines of progress the one, 
the Mollusks, showing the nutritive organs more fully 
developed the other, the Articulates, having the 
organs of sense and of locomotion more fully organized. 
These three great types shared the world among them 
throughout the earlier Palaeozoic time, and only in its 
later ages began to be dominated by the higher types 
of fishes and reptiles. In so far as we know, ifc re- 
mained for the Mesozoic to introduce the birds and 
mammals. In plant life the changes were less marked, 
though here also there is progress land plants appear 
to begin, not with the lowest fornje, but with the highest 
types of the lower of the two great series into which 
the vegetable kingdom is divided. From this they 
rapidly rise to a full development of the lowest type of 
the flowering plants, the pines and their allies, and 
there the progress ceases ; for the known representatives 
of the higher plants are extremely few and apparently 
of little importance. 

Fifthly, in general the history tells of a continued 
series of alternate victories and defeats of the species 
that had their birth on the land and in the shallow 


waters, and those which were born in the ocean depths. 
The former spread themselves widely after every up- 
heaval, and then by every subsidence were driven back 
to their mountain fastnesses. The latter perished from 
the continental plateaus at every upheaval, but climbed 
again in new hordes and reoccupied the ground after 
every subsidence. But just as in human history every 
victory or defeat urges on the progress of events, and 
develops the great plan of God's providence in the 
elevation of man; so here every succeeding change 
brings in new and higher actors on the stage, and the 
scheme of creation moVes on in a grand and steady 
progress towards the more varied and elevated life of 
the Modern World, 

But, after all, how little do we know of these laws, 
which are only beginning to dawn on the minds of 
naturalists ; and which the imperfections of our classi- 
fication and nomenclature, and the defects in our know- 
ledge of fossil species, render very dim and uncertain. 
A.11 that appears settle^ is the existence of a definite 
plan, working over long ages, and connected with the 
most remarkable correlation of physical and organic 
change : going on with regular march throughout the 
Palaeozoic, and then brought to a close to make room 
for another great succession. This following Mesozoic 
time must next engage our attention. 

We may close for the present with presenting to 
the eye in tabular form the periods over which we 
have passed. The table on page 187, and the 
diagram (page 179), mutually illustrate each other; 


and it will be seen that each age constitutes a 
cycle, similar in its leading features to the other 
cycles, while each is distinguished by some important 
fact in relation to the introduction of living beings. 
In this table I have> with Mr. Hull,* for simplicity, 
arranged the formations of each age under three 
periods an older, middle, and newer. Of these, 
however, the last or newest is in each case so im- 
portant and varied as to merit division into two, in 
the manner which I have suggested in previous pub 
lications for the Palseozoic rocks of North America.f 
Under each period I have endeavoured to give some 
characteristic example from Europe and America, 
except where, as in the case of the coal formation, 
the same names are used on both continents. ' Such 
a table as this, it must be observed, is only tentative, 
and may admit of important modifications. The 
Laurentian more especially may admit of division 
into several ages; and a separate age may be found 
to intervene between it and the Cambrian. The 
reader will please observe that this table refers to 
the changes on the continental plateaus ; and that 
on both of these each age was introduced with shallow 
water and usually coarse deposits, succeeded by 
deeper water and finer beds, usually limestones, and 
these by a mixed formation returning to the shallow 
water and coarse deposits of the older period of the 
age. This last kind of deposition culminates in the 
great swamps of the coal formation. 

* " Quarterly Journal of Science," July, 1869. 
f " Acadian Geology," p. 137. 


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PHYSICALLY, the transition from the Permian to the 
Trias is easy. In the domain of life a great gulf lies 
between ; and the geologist whose mind is filled with 
the forms of the Palaeozoic period, on rising into 
the next succeeding beds, feels himself a sort of 
Rip Van Winkle, who has slept a hundred years and 
awakes in a new world. The geography of our 
continents seems indeed to have changed little from 
the time of the Permian to that next succeeding 
group which all geologists recognise as the beginning 
of the Mesozoic or Middle Age of the world's history, 
the Triassic period. Where best developed, as in 
Germany, it gives us the usual threefold series, con- 
glomerates and sandstones below, a shelly limestone 
in the middle, and sandstones and marls above. 
Curiously enough, the Germans, recognising this 
tripartite character here more distinctly than in their 
other formations, named this the Trias or triple group, 
a name which it still retains, though as we have 
seen it is by no means the earliest of the triple groups 
of strata. In England, where the middle limestone 
is absent, it is a " New Red Sandstone/' and the 
same name may be appropriately extended to Eastern 
America, where bright red sandstones are a charac- 



teristic feature. In the Trias, as in the Permian, 
the continents of the northern hemisphere presented 
large land areas, and there were lagoons and land- 
locked seas in which gypsum, magnesian limestones, 
and rock salt were thrown down, a very eminent 
example of which is afforded by the great salt deposits 
of Cheshire. There were also tremendous outbursts 
of igneous activity along the margins of the con- 
tinents, more especially in Eastern America. But with 
all this there was a rich land flora and a wonderful 
exuberance of new animal life on the land; and in 
places there were even swamps in which pure and 
valuable beds of coal, comparable with those of the 
old coal formation, were deposited. 

The triple division of the Trias as a cycle of the 
earth's history, and its local imperfection, are well 
seen in the European development of the group, 
thus : 

German Series. 

French Series. 

English Series. 

Keuper, Sandstone and ") 
Shale ..., ... \ 

Marnes Irisees 

rSaliferous and gypse- 
3 ous Shales and Sand- 

Muschelkalk, Lime- ") 
stone and Dolomite j 

Bunter, Sandstone and ") 
Conglomerate ) 

Calcaire Coquillier 
Gres bigarrg 

(. stones. 

( Sandstone and Con- 
(_ glomerate. 

The Trias is succeeded by a great and complex 
system of formations, usually known as the Jurassic, 
from its admirable development and exposure in the 


range of the Jura ; but which the English geologists 
often name the "Oolitic/' from the occurrence in it 
of beds of Oolite or roe-stone. This rock, of which 
the beautiful cream-coloured limestone of Bath is an 
illustration, consists of an infinity of little spheres, 
like seeds or the roe of a fish. Under the microscope 
these are seen to present concentric layers, each with 
a radiating fibrous structure, and often to have a 
minute grain of sand or fragment of shell in the 
centre. They are, in short, miniature concretions, 
produced by the aggregation of the calcareous matter 
around centres, by a process of molecular attraction 
to which fine sediments, and especially those con- 
taining much lime, are very prone. This style of 
limestone is very abundant in the Jurassic system, 
but it is not confined to it. I have seen very perfect 
Oolites in the Silurian and the Carboniferous. The 
Jurassic series, as developed in England, may be 
divided into three triplets or cycles of beds, in the 
following way : 

(Purbeck Beds 

Upper Jurassic \ Portland Limestone. 

(Portland Sand. 

/ Kimmeridge Clay, etc. 

Middle Jurassic -I Coral Rag, Limestone. 

(Lower Calcareous Grit, Oxford Clay, etc. 

ICornbrash and Forest Marble. 
Great and inferior Oolite, Limestone. 
Lias Clays and Limestones. 

These rocks occupy a large space in England, as 

* This last group is very complex, and might perhaps admit of sub- 
division, locally at least, into subordinate cycles. 


the names above given will serve to show; and they 
are also largely distributed over the continent of 
Europe and Asia which had evidently three great 
and long-continued dips under water, indicated by 
the three great limestones. In America the case 
was different. The Jurassic has not been distinctly 
recognised in any part of the eastern coast of that 
continent, which then perhaps extended farther into 
the Atlantic than it does at present ; so that no 
marine beds were formed on its eastern border. But 
in the west, along the base of the Eocky Mountains 
and also in the Arctic area, there were Jurassic seas 
of large extent, swarming with characteristic animals. 
At the close of the Jurassic period our continents 
seem to have been even more extensive than at pre- 
sent. In England and the neighbouring parts of 
the continent of Europe, according to Lyell, the 
freshwater and estuarine beds known as the Wealden 
have been traced 320 miles from west to east, and 
200 miles from north-west to south-east, and their 
thickness in one part of this area is estimated at no 
less than 2,000 feet. Such a deposit is comparable 
in extent with the deltas of such great rivers as the 
Niger or even the Mississippi, and implies the exist- 
ence of a continent much more extensive and more 
uniform in drainage than Europe as it at present 
exists. Lyell even speculates on the possible exist- 
ence of an Atlantic continent west of Europe. 
America also at this time had, as already stated, 
attained to even more than its present extension 


eastwards. Thus this later Jurassic period was the 
culmination of the Mesozoic, the period of its most 
perfect continental development, corresponding in this 
to the Carboniferous in the Palaeozoic. 

The next or closing period of this great Mesozoic 
time brought a wondrous change. In the Cretaceous 
period, so called from the vast deposits of chalk by 
which it is characterized, the continents sunk as they 
had never sunk before, so that vast spaces of the great 
continental plateaus were brought down, for the first 
time since the Laurentian, to the condition of abyssal 
depths, tenanted by such creatures as live in the 
deepest recesses of our modern oceans. This great 
depression affected Europe more severely than Ame- 
rica; the depression of the latter being not only less, 
but somewhat later in date. In Europe, at the period 
of greatest submergence, the hills of Scandinavia and 
of Britain, and the Urals, perhaps alone stood out of 
the sea. The Alps and their related mountains, and 
even the Himalayas, were not yet born, for they have 
on their high summits deep-sea beds of the Cretaceous 
and even of later date. In America, the Appalachians 
and the old Laurentian ranges remained above water ; 
but the Eocky Mountains and the Andes were in 
great part submerged, and a great Cretaceous sea 
extended from the Appalachians westward to the 
Pacific, and southward to the Gulf of Mexico, opening 
probably to the North into the Arctic Ocean. 

This great depression must have been of very long 
continuance, since in Western Europe it sufficed for 


the production of nearly 1,000 feet in thickness of 
chalk, a rock which, being composed almost entirely 
of microscopic shells, is, as we shall see in the sequel, 
necessarily of extremely slow growth. If we regard 
the Cretaceous group as one of our great ages or 
cycles, it seems to be incomplete. The sandstones 
and clays known as the Greensand and Gault con- 
stitute its lower or shallow-water member. The chalk 
is its middle or deep-sea member, but the upper 
shallow-water member is missing, or only very locally 
and imperfectly developed. And the oldest of the 
succeeding Tertiary deposits, which indicate much 
less continuous marine conditions, rest on the chalk, 
as if the great and deep sea of the Cretaceous age 
had been suddenly upheaved into land. This abrupt 
termination of the last cycle of the Mesozoic is obvi- 
ously the reason of the otherwise inexplicable fact 
that the prevalent life of the period ceases at the top 
of the chalk, and is exchanged immediately and with- 
out any transition for the very different fauna of the 
Tertiary. This further accords with the fact that the 
Cretaceous subsidence ended in another great crum- 
pling of the crust, like that which distinguished the 
Permian. By this the Mesozoic time was terminated 
and the Cainozoic inaugurated; while the Rocky 
Mountains, the Andes, the Alps, and the Himalayas, 
rose to importance as great mountain ranges, and the 
continents were again braced up to retain a condition 
of comparative equilibrium during that later period of 
the earth's chronology to which we ourselves belong. 


Was the length of the Mesozoic time equal to that 
of the Palaeozoic ? Measured by recurring cycles it 
was. In the latter period we find five great cycles, 
from the Lower Silurian to the Permian inclusive. 
So in the Mesozoic we have five also, from the Trias 
to the Cretaceous inclusive. We have a right to 
reckon these cycles as ages or great years of the 
earth ; and so reckoning them, the Mesozoic time may 
have been as long as the Palaeozoic. But if we take 
another criterion the result will be different. Tho 
thickness of the deposits in the Palaeozoic as com- 
pared with the Mesozoic, where these are severally 
best developed, may be estimated as at least four or 
five to one; so that if we suppose the beds to have 
been formed with equal rapidity in the two great 
periods, then the older of the two was between four 
and five times as long as the latter, which would 
indeed be only a little greater than one of the separate 
ages of the Palasozoic. Either, therefore, the deposits 
took place with greater rapidity in the Palaeozoic, or 
that period was by much the longer of the two. This 
it will be observed, is only another aspect of the great 
laws of geological sequence referred to in our last 

Let us look into this question a little more minutely. 
If the several pulsations of our continents depended 
upon any regularly recurring astronomical or terres- 
trial change, then they must represent, at least 
approximately, equal portions of time, and this, if 
proved, would settle the question in favour of an 


equal duration of these two great eras of the earth's 
history. But as we cannot yet prove this, we may 
consider what light we can derive from the nature of 
the rocks produced. These may be roughly classified 
as of two kinds : First, the beds of sediment, sand, 
clay, etc., accumulated by the slow chemical decay of 
rocks and the mechanical agency of water. Secondly, 
the beds formed by accumulation of the harder and 
less perishable parts of living beings, of which the 
limestones are the chief. With reference to the first 
of these kinds of deposit, the action of the atmosphere 
and rains on rocks in the earlier times might have 
been somewhat more powerful if there was more car- 
bonic acid in the atmosphere, that substance being the 
most efficient agent in the chemical decay of rocks. 
It might have been somewhat more powerful if there 
was a greater rainfall. It must, on the other hand, 
have been lessened by the apparently more equable 
temperature which then prevailed. These differences 
might perhaps nearly balance one another. Then the 
rocks of the older time were quite as intractable as 
those of the newer, and they were probably neither so 
high nor so extensive. Further, the dips and emer- 
gences of the great continental plateaus were equally 
numerous in the two great periods, though they were 
probably, with the exception of the latest one of each, 
more complete in the older period. In so far, then, as 
deposition of sediment is concerned, these considera- 
tions would scarcely lead us to infer that it was more 
rapid in the Palasozoic. But the Palaeozoic sediments 


may be estimated in the aggregate at about 50,000 
feet in thickness, while those of the Mesozoic scarcely 
reach 8,000. We might, therefore, infer that the 
Palaeozoic period was perhaps five or six times as long 
as the Mesozoic. 

If we take the second class of rocks, the limestones, 
and suppose these to have been accumulated by the 
slow growth of corals, shells, etc., in the sea, we 
might, at first sight, suppose that Palaeozoic animals 
would not grow or accumulate limestone faster than 
their Mesozoic successors. We must, however, con- 
sider here the probability that the older oceans con- 
tained more lime in solution than those which now 
exist, and that the equable temperature and exten- 
sive submerged plateaus gave very favourable con- 
ditions for the lower animals of the sea, so that it 
would perhaps be fair to allow a somewhat more 
rapid rate of growth of limestone for the Palaeozoic. 
Now the actual proportions of limestone may be 
roughly stated at 13,000 feet in the Palaeozoic, and 
3,000 feet in the Mesozoic, which would give a pro- 
portion of about four and a quarter to one ; and as a 
foot of limestone may be supposed on the average to 
require five times as long for its formation as a foot 
of sediment, this would give an even greater abso- 
lute excess in favour of the Palaeozoic on the evidence 
of the limestones an excess probably far too great 
to be accounted for by any more favourable condi- 
tions for the secretion of carbonate of lime by marine 


The data for such calculations are very uncertain ; 
and three elements of additional uncertainty closely 
related to each other must also be noticed. The first 
is the unknown length of the intervals in which no 
deposition whatever may have been taking place 
over the areas open to our investigation. The second 
is the varying amounts in which material once de- 
posited may have been swept away by water. The 
third is the amount of difference that may have 
resulted from the progressive change of the geo- 
graphical features of our continents. These uncer- 
tainties would all tend to diminish our estimate 
of the relative length of the Mesozoic. Lastly, the 
changes that have taken place in living beings, 
though a good measure of the lapse of time, cannot be 
taken as a criterion here, since there is much reason to 
believe that more rapid changes of physical conditions 
act as an inducing cause of rapid changes of life. 

On the whole, then, taking such facts as we have, 
and making large deductions for the several causes 
tending to exaggerate our conception of Palseozoic 
time, we can scarcely doubt that the Palaeozoic may 
have been three times as long as the Mesozoic. If 
so, the continental pulsations, and the changes in 
animal and vegetable life, must have gone on with 
accelerated rapidity in the later period, a conclusion 
to which we shall again have occasion to refer when 
we arrive at the consideration of the Tertiary or 
Neozoic time, and the age of man, and the probable 
duration of the order of things under which we live. 


I have given this preliminary sketch of the whole 
Mesozoic time, because we cannot here, as in the 
Palaeozoic, take up each age separately ; and now we 
must try to picture to ourselves the life and action of 
these ages. In doing so we may look at, first, the 
plant life of this period; second, animal life on the 
land ; and third, animal life in the waters and in the 
ocean depths. 

The Mesozoic shores were clothed with an abund- 
ant flora, which changed considerably in its form 
during the lapse of this long time; but yet it has a 
character of its own distinct from that of the previous 
Palseozoic and the succeeding Tertiary. Perhaps no 
feature of this period is more characteristic than the 
great abundance of those singular plants, the cycads, 
which in the modern flora are placed near to the 
pines, but in their appearance and habit more 
resemble palms, and which in the modern world are 
chiefly found in the tropical and warm temperate 
zones of Asia and America. No plants certainly of 
this order occur in the Carboniferous, where their 
nearest allies are perhaps some of the Sigillariae ; and 
in the modern time the cycads are not so abundant, 
nor do they occur at all in climates where their 
predecessors appear to have ebounded. In the quar- 
ries of the island of Portland, we have a remarkable 
evidence of this in beds with numerous stems of 
cycads still in situ in the soil in which they grew, 
and associated with stumps of pines which seem to 
have flourished along with them. In further illustra- 


tion of this point, I may refer to the fact that Car- 
ruthers, in a recent paper, catalogues twenty-five 
British species belonging to eight genera a fact 
which markedly characterizes the British flora of the 
Mesozoic period. These plants will therefore occupy 
a prominent place in our restoration of the Mesozoic 
landscape, and we should give especial prominence to 
the beautiful species Williamsonia gigas, discovered 
by the eminent botanist whose name it bears, and 
restored in his paper on the plant in the " Linnaean 
Transactions." These plants, with pines and gigantic 
equisetums, prevailed greatly in the earlier Mesozoic 
flora, but as the time wore on, various kinds of 
endogens, resembling the palms and the screw-pines 
of the tropical islands, were introduced, and toward 
its close some representatives of the exogens very 
like our ordinary trees. Among these we find for 
the first time in our upward progress in the history 
of the earth, species of our familiar oaks, figs, and 
walnut, along with some trees now confined to Aus- 
tralia and the Cape of Good Hope, as the banksias 
and " silver-trees," and their allies. In America a 
large number of the genera of the modern trees are 
present, and even some of those now peculiar to 
America, as the tulip-trees and sweet-gums. These 
forests of the later Mesozoic must therefore have 
been as gay with flowers and as beautiful in foliage 
as those of the modern world, and there is evidence 
that they swarmed with insect life. Further, the 
Mesozoic plants produced in some places beds of coa] 


comparable in value and thickness to those of the old 
coal formation. Of this kind are the coal beds of 
Brora in Sutherlandshire, those of Richmond in 
Virginia, and Deep River in N. Carolina, those of 
Vancouver's Island, and a large part of those of 
China. To the same age have been referred some at 
least of the coal beds of Australia and India. So 
important are these beds in China, that had geology 
originated in that country, the Mesozoic might have 
been our age of coal. 

If the forests of the Mesozoic present a great 
advance over those of the Palaeozoic, so do the 
animals of the land, which now embrace all the great 
types of vertebrate life. Some of these creatures 
have left strange evidence of their existence in their 
footprints on the sand and clay, now cemented into 
beds of hard rock excavated by the quarryman. If 
we had landed on some wide muddy Mesozoic shore, 
we might have found it marked in all directions with 
animal footprints. Some of these are shaped much 
like a human hand. The creature that made this 
mark was a gigantic successor of the crocodilian 
newts or labyrinthodonts of the Carboniferous, and 
this type seems to have attained its maximum in this 
period, where one species, Labyrinth odon giganteus, 
had great teeth three or four inches in length, and 
presenting in their cross section the most complicated 
foldings of enamel imaginable. But we may see on 
the shores still more remarkable footprints. They 
indicate biped and three-toed animals of gigantic 


size, with a stride perhaps six feet in length. Were 
they enormous birds ? If so, the birds of this age 
must have been giants which would dwarf even our 
ostriches. But as we walk along the shore we see 
many other impressions, some of them much smaller 
and different in form. Some, again, very similar in 
other respects, have four toes; and, more wonderful 
still, in tracing up some of the tracks, we find that 
here and there the creature has put down on the ground 
a sort of four-fingered hand, while some of these 
animals seem to have trailed long tails behind them. 
What were these portentous creatures bird, beast, 
or reptile ? The answer has been given to us by 
their bones, as studied by Von Meyer and Owen, and 
more recently by Huxley and Cope. We thus have 
brought before us the Dinosaurs the terrible Saurians 
of the Mesozoic age, the noblest of the Tanninim 
of old. These creatures constitute numerous genera 
and species, some of gigantic size, others compara- 
tively small; some harmless browsers on plants, 
others terrible renders of living flesh; but all re- 
markable for presenting a higher type of reptile 
organization than any now existing, and approach- 
ing in some respects to the birds and in others to the 
mammalia. Let us take one example of each of the 
principal groups. And first marches before us the 
Iguanodon or his relation Hadrosaurus a gigantic 
biped, twenty feet or more in height, with enormous 
legs shaped like those of an ostrich, but of elephant- 
ine thickness. It strides along, not by leaps like a 


kangaroo, but with dow and stately tread, occasionally 
resting, and supporting itself on the tripod formed 
by its hind limbs and a huge tail, like the inverted 
trunk of a tree. The upper part of its body becomes 
small and slender, and its head, of diminutive size 
and mild aspect, is furnished with teeth for munching 
the leaves and fruits of trees, which it can easily 
reach with its small fore-limbs, or hands, as it walks 
through the woods. The outward appearance of 
these creatures we do not certainly know. It is not 
likely that they had bony plates like crocodiles, but 
they may have shone resplendent in horny scale 
armour of varied hues. But another and more dread- 
ful form rises before us. It is Megalosaurus or perhaps 
Lcelaps. Here we have a creature of equally gigantic 
size and biped habits ; but it is much more agile, and 
runs with great swiftness or advances by huge leaps, 
and its feet and hands are armed with strong curved 
claws ; while its mouth has a formidable armature of 
sharp-edged and pointed teeth. It is a type of a 
group of biped bird-like lizards, the most terrible 
and formidable of rapacious animals that the earth 
has ever seen. Some of these creatures, in their 
short deep jaws and heads, resembled the great car- 
nivorous mammals of modern times, while all in the 
structure of their limbs had a strange and grotesque 
resemblance to the birds. Nearly all naturalists re- 
gard them as reptiles; but in their circulation and 
respiration they must have approached to the mam- 
malia, and their general habit of body recalls that of 


the kangaroos. They were no doubt oviparous ; and 
this, with their biped habit, seems to explain the 
strong resemblance of their hind quarters to those of 
birds. Had we seen the eagle-clawed Laelaps rushing 
on his prey; throwing his huge bulk perhaps thirty 
feet through the air, and crushing to the earth under 
his gigantic talons some feebler Hadrosaur, we should 
have shudderingly preferred the companionship of 
modern wolves and tigers to that of those savage 
and gigantic monsters of the Mesozoic. 

We must not leave the great land-lizards of the 
reptilian age, without some notice of that Goliath of 
the race which, by a singular misnomer, has received 
the appellation of Ceteosaurus or " Whale-Saurian." 
It was first introduced to naturalists by the discovery 
of a few enormous vertebras in the English Oolite; 
and as these in size and form seemed best to fit an 
aquatic creature, it was named in accordance with 
this view. But subsequent discoveries have shown 
that, incredible though this at first appeared, the 
animal had limbs fitted for walking on the land. 
Professor Phillips has been most successful in col- 
lecting and restoring the remains of Ceteosaurus, 
and devotes to its history a long and interesting 
section of his " Geology of Oxford." The size of 
the animal may be estimated, from the fact that its 
thigh-bone is sixty-four inches long, and thick in 
proportion. From this and other fragments of the 
skeleton, we learn that this huge monster must have 
stood ten feet high when on all fours, and that its 


length could not have been less than fifty feet ; per- 
haps much more. From a single tooth, which has 
been found, it seems to have been herbivorous; and 
it was probably a sort of reptilian Hippopotamus, 
living on the rich herbage by the sides of streams 
and marshes, and perhaps sometimes taking to the 
water, where the strokes of its powerful tail would 
enable it to move more rapidly than on the land. 
In structure, it seems to have been a composite 
creature, resembling in many points the contemporary 
Dinosaurs; but in others, approaching to the croco- 
diles and the lizards. 

But the wonders of Mesozoic reptiles are not yet 
exhausted. While noticing numerous crocodiles and 
lizard-like creatures, and several kinds of tortoises, 
we are startled by what seems a flight of great bats, 
wheeling and screaming overhead, pouncing on 
smaller creatures' of their own kind, as hawks seize 
sparrows and partridges, and perhaps diving into 
the sea for fish. These were the Pterodactyles, the 
reptile bats of the Mesozoic. They fly by means of 
a membrane stretched on a monstrously enlarged 
little finger, while the other fingers of the fore limb 
are left free to be used as hands or feet. To move 
these wings, they had large breast-muscles like those 
of birds. In their general structure, they were 
lizards, but no doubt of far higher organization 
than any animals of this order now living; and in 
accordance with this, the interior of their skull shows 
that they must have had a brain comparable with 


that of birds, which they rivalled in energy and 
intelligence. Some of them were larger than the 
largest modern birds of prey, others were like pigeons 
and snipes in size. Specimens in the Cambridge 
Museum indicate one species twenty feet in the 
expanse of its wings. Cope has recently described an 
equally gigantic species from the Mesozoic of Western 
America, and fragments of much larger species are 
said to exist.* Imagine such a creature, a flying 
dragon, with vast skinny wings, its body, perhaps, 
covered with scales, both wings and feet armed with 
strong claws, and with long jaws furnished with 
sharp teeth. Nothing can be conceived more strange 
and frightful. Some of them had the hind limbs 
long, like wading birds. Some had short legs, 
adapted perhaps for perching. They could probably 
fold up their wings, and walk on all fours. Their 
skeleton, like that of birds, was very light, yet strong; 
and the hollow bones have pores, which show that, as 
in birds, air could be introduced into them from the 
lungs. This proves a circulation resembling that of 
birds, and warm blood. Indeed, in many respects, 
these creatures bridge over the space between the 
birds and the reptiles. '"'That they lived," says 
Seeley, " exclusively upon land or in the air is im- 
probable, considering the circumstances under which 
their remains are found. It is likely that they 
haunted the sea-shores ; and while sometimes rowing 
themselves over the water with their powerful wings, 
* Seeley : " Ornithosauria." 


used the wing membrane, as does the bat, to enclose 
the prey and bring 1 it to the mouth. The large 
Pterodactyles probably pursued a more substantial 
prey than dragon-flies. Their teeth were well suited 
for fish ; but probably fowl and small mammal, and 
even fruits, made a variety in their food. As the 
lord of the cliff, it may be supposed to have taken 
toll of all animals that could be conquered with tooth 
and nail. From its brain, it might be regarded as an 
intelligent animal. The jaws present indications ot 
having been sheathed with a horny covering, and 
some species show a rugose anterior termination 01 
the snout, suggestive of fleshy lips like those of the 
bat, and which may have been similarly used to 
stretch and clean the wing-membrane." 

Here, however, perched on the trees, we see true 
birds. They have toothed beaks, and are clothed 
with feathers. 'But they have very strange wings, 
the feathers all secondaries, without any large quills, 
and several fingers with claws at the angle of the 
wing, so that though less useful as wings, they 
served the double purpose of wing and hand. More 
strange still, the tail was long and flexible, like that 
of a lizard, with the feathers arranged in rows along 
its sides. If the lizards of this strange and uncertain 
time had wings like bats, the birds had tails and 
hands like lizards. This was in short the special 
age of reptiles, when animals of that class usurped 
the powers which rightfully belonged to creatures 
yet in their nonage, the true birds and mammals ot 


our modern days, while the birds were compelled to 
assume some reptilian traits. 

Yet, strange to say, representatives of the higher 
creatures destined to inherit the earth at a later date 
actually existed. Toward the close of the Mesozoic 
we find birds approaching to those of our own day, 
and almost at the beginning of the time there were 
small mammals, remains of which are found both in 
the earlier and later formations of the Mesozoic, but 
which never seem to have thriven; at least so far as 
the introduction of large and important species is 
concerned. Traversing the Mesozoic woods, we might 
see here and there little hairy creatures, which would 
strike a naturalist as allies of the modern bandicoots, 
kangaroo rats, and myrmecobius of Australia; and 
closer study would confirm this impression, though 
showing differences of detail. In their teeth, their 
size, and general form, and probably in their pouched 
or marsupial reproduction, these animals were early 
representatives of the smaller quadrupeds of the 
Austral continent, creatures which are not only small 
but of low organisation in their class. 

One of these mammals, known to us only by its 
teeth, and well named Microlestes, the "little thief/' 
sneaks into existence, so to speak, in the Trias of 
Europe, while another very similar, Dromatherium, 
appears in rocks of similar age in America; and this 
is the small beginning of the great class Mammalia, 
destined in its quadrupedal forms to culminate in the 
elephants and their contemporaries in the Tertiary 


period. Who that saw them trodden under foot by 
the reptile aristocracy of the Mesozoic could have 
divined their destiny ? But, notwithstanding the 
struggle for existence, the weakest does not always 
"go to the wall." . The weak things of this world 
are often chosen to confound those that are mighty; 
and the little quadrupeds of the Mesozoic are an 
allegory. They may typify the true, the good, and 
the hopeful, mildly and humbly asserting themselves 
in the world that now is, in the presence of the 
dragon monsters of pride and violence, which in the 
days to come they will overthrow. Physically the 
Mesozoic has passed away, but still exists morally in 
an age of evil reptiles, whose end is as certain as 
that of the great Dinosaurs of the old world. 

The Mesozoic mammals are among the most inter- 
esting fossils known to us. In a recent memoir by 
Professor Owen, thirty-three species are indicated all, 
or nearly all, Marsupial all small all closely allied 
to modern Australian animals ; some herbivorous, 
some probably carnivorous. Owen informs us that 
these animals are not merely marsupials, but mar- 
supials of low grade, a point in which, however, 
Huxley differs somewhat in opinion. They are at 
least not lower than some that still exist, and not so 
low as those lowest of mammals in Modern Australia, 
the duck-billed platypus and the echidna. Owen 
further supposes that they were possibly the first 
mammals, and not only the predecessors but the pro- 
genitors of the modern marsupials. If so, we have 



the singular fact that they not only did not improve 
throughout the vast Mesozoic time, but that they have 
been in the progress of subsequent geological ages 
expelled out of the great eastern continent, and, with 
the exception of the American opossums, banished, 
like convicts, to Australia. Yet, notwithstanding their 
multiplied travels and long experiences, they have 
made little advance. It thus seems that the Mesozoic 
mammals were, from the evolutionist point of view, a 
decided failure, and the work of introducing mammals 
had to be done over again in the Tertiary ; and then, 
as we shall find, in a very different way. If nothing 
more, however, the Mesozoic mammals were a mute 
prophecy of a better time, a protest that the age of 
reptiles was an imperfect age, and that better things 
were in store for the world. Moses seems to have 
been more hopeful of them than Owen or even Huxley 
would have been. He says that God " created " the 
great Tanninim, the Dinosaurs and their allies, but 
only " made " the mammals of the following creative 
day j so that when Microlestes and his companions 
quietly and unnoticed presented themselves in the 
Mesozoic, they would appear in some way to have 
obviated, in the case of the tertiary mammals, the 
necessity of a repetition of the greater intervention 
implied in the word " create." How that was effected 
none of us know ; but, perhaps, we may know here- 


THE MESOZOIC AGES (continued). 

THE waters of the Mesozoic period present features 
quite as remarkable as the land. In our survey of 
their teeming multitudes, we indeed scarcely know 
where to begin or whither to turn. Let us look first 
at the higher or more noble inhabitants of the waters. 
And here, just as in the case of the greater animals 
of the land, the Mesozoic was emphatically an age of 
reptiles. In the modern world the highest animals of 
the soy Are mammals, and these belong to three great 
and somewhat diverse groups. The first is that of the 
seals and their allies, the walruses, sea-lions, etc. The 
second is that of the whales and dolphins and por- 
poises. The third is that of the manatees, or dugongs. 
All these creatures breathe air, and bring forth their 
young alive, and nourish them with milk. Yet they 
all live habitually or constantly in the water. Be- 
tween these aquatic mammals and the fishes, we have 
some aquatic reptiles as the turtles, and a few sea- 
snakes and sea-lizards, and crocodiles ; but the 
number of these is comparatively small, and in the 
more temperate latitudes there are scarcely any of 

All this was different in the Mesozoic. In so far as 
we know, there were no representatives of the seals 


and whales and their allies, but there were vast num- 
bers of marine reptiles, and many of these of gigantic 
size. Britain at present does not possess one large 
reptile, and no marine reptile whatever. In the 
Mesozoic, in addition to the great Dinosaurs and 
Pterodactyls of the land- it had at least fifty or sixty 
species of aquatic reptiles, besides many turtles. Some 
of these were comparable in size with our modern 
whales, and armed with tremendous powers of destruc- 
tion. America is not relatively rich in remains of 
Mesozoic Saurians, yet while the existing fauna of the 
temperate parts of North America is nearly destitute 
of aquatic reptiles, with the exception of the turtles, 
it can boast, according to Cope's lists, about fifty 
Mesozoic species, many of them of gigantic size, and 
the number of known species is increasing every year. 
When it is taken in connection with these statistics, 
that while we know all the modern species, we know 
but a small percentage of the fossils, the discrepancy 
becomes still more startling. Further, from the num- 
ber of specimens and fragments found, it is obvious 
that these great aquatic saurians were by no means 
rare ; and that some of the species at least must have 
been very abundant. Could we have taken our post 
on the Mesozoic shore, or sailed over its waters, we 
should have found ourselves in the midst of swarms of 
these strange, often hideous, and always grotesque 

Let us consider for a little some of the more con- 
spicuous forms, referring to our illustration for their 


portraits. Every text-book figures the well-known 
types of the genera Ichthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus ; 
we need scarcely, therefore, dwell on them, except to 
state that the catalogues of British fossils include 
eleven species of the former genus and eighteen of the 
latter. We may, however, notice some of the less 
famiL&r points of comparison of the two genera. 
Both were aquatic, and probably marine. Both swam 
by means of paddles ; both were carnivorous, and 
probably fed principally upon fishes ; both were pro- 
per reptiles, and breathed air, and had large and 
capacious lungs. Yet with these points in common, 
no two animals could have been more different in 
detail. The Ichthyosaurus had an enormous head, 
with powerful jaws, furnished with numerous and 
strong teeth. Its great eyes, strengthened by a circle 
of bony plates, exceeded in dimensions, and probably 
in power of vision under water, those of any other 
animal, recent or fossil. Its neck was short, its trunk 
massive, with paddles or swimming limbs of compara- 
tively small size, and a long tail, probably furnished 
with a caudal fin or paddle for propulsion through the 
water. The Plesiosaur, on the other hand, had a 
small and delicate head, with slender teeth and small 
eyes. Its neck, of great length and with numerous 
joints, resembled the body of a serpent. Its trunk, 
short, compact, and inflexible, was furnished with 
large and strong paddles, and its tail was too short to 
be of any service except for steering. Compared with 
the Ichthyosaur, it was what the giraffe is to the 


rhinoceros, or tho swan to the porpoise. Two fisher- 
men so variously and differently fitted for their work 
it would be difficult to imagine. But these differences 
were obviously related to corresponding differences in 
food and habit. The Ichthyosaur was fitted to 
struggle with the waves of the stormy sea, to roll 
therein like modern whales and grampuses, to seize 
and devour great fishes, and to dive for them into the 
depths; and its great armour-plated eyes must have 
been well adapted for vision in the deeper waters. 
The Plesiosaur, on the contrary, was fitted for com- 
paratively still and shallow waters; swimming near 
the surface with its graceful neck curving aloft, it 
could dart at the smaller fishes on the surface, or 
stretch its long neck downward in search of those 
near the bottom. The Ichthyosaurs rolled like por- 
poises in the surf of the Liassic coral reefs and the 
waves beyond ; the Plesiosaurs careered gracefully in 
the quiet waters within. Both had their beginning at 
the same time in the earlier Mesozoic, and both found 
a common and final grave in its later sediments. 
Some of the species were of very moderate size, but 
there were Ichthyosaurs twenty five feet long, and 
Plesiosaurs at least eighteen feet in length. 

Another strange and monstrous group of creatures, 
the Elasmosaurs and their allies, combined the long 
neck of Plesiosaurs with the swimming tail of Ichthyo- 
saurs, the latter enormously elongated, so that these 
creatures were sometimes fifty feet in length, and 
whale-like in the dimensions of their bodies. It is 


curious that these composite creatures belong to a 
later period of the Mesozoic than the typical Ichthyo- 
saurs and Plesiosaurs, as if the characters at one 
time sepai-ated in these genera had united in their 

One of the relatives of the Plesiosaurs, the Pliosaur, 
of which genus several species of great size are known, 
perhaps realized in the highest degree possible the 
idea of a huge marine predaceous reptile. The head 
in some of the species was eight feet in length, armed 
with conical teeth a foot long. The neck was not 
only long, but massive and powerful, the paddles, four 
in number, were six or seven feet in length and must 
have urged the vast bulk of the animal, perhaps forty 
feet in extent, through the water with prodigious 
speed. The capacious chest and great ribs show a 
powerful heart and lungs. Imagine such a creature 
raising its huge head twelve feet or more out of water, 
and rushing after its prey, impelled with perhaps the 
most powerful oars ever possessed by any animal. 
We may be thankful that such monsters, more terrible 
than even the fabled sea-serpent, are unknown in our 
days. Buckland, I think, at one time indulged in the 
jeu d'esprit of supposing an Ichthyosaur lecturing or 
the human skull. " You will at once perceive," said 
the lecturer, "that the skull before us belonged to 
one of the lower orders of animals. The teeth are 
very insignificant, the power of the jaws trifling, and 
altogether it seems wonderful how the creature could 
have procured food." We cannot retort on the 


Ichthyosaur and his contemporaries, for we can see 
that they were admirably fitted for the work they had 
in hand ; but we can see that had man been so un- 
fortunate as to have lived in their days, he might have 
been anything but the lord of creation. 

But there were sea-serpents as well as other mon- 
sters in the Mesozoic seas. Many years ago the Lower 
Cretaceous beds of St. Peter's Mount, near Maastricht, 
afforded a skull three feet in length, of massive pro- 
portions, and furnished with strong conical teeth, to 
which the name Mosasaurus Camperi was given. The 
skull and other parts of the skeleton found with it, 
were held to indicate a large aquatic reptile, but its 
precise position in its class was long a subject of dis- 
pute. Faujas held it to be a crocodile; Camper, 
Ouvier, and Owen regarded it as a gigantic lizard. 
More recently, additional specimens, especially those 
found in the Cretaceous formations of North America, 
have thrown new light upon its structure, and have 
shown it to present a singular combination of the cha- 
racter of serpents, lizards, and of the great sea saurians 
already referred to. Some parts of the head and the 
articulation of the jaws, in important points resemble 
those of serpents, while in other respects the head is 
that of a gigantic lizard. The body and tail are 
greatly lengthened out, having more than a hundred 
vertebral joints, and in one of the larger species at- 
taining the length of eighty feet. The trunk itself is 
much elongated, and with ribs like those of a snake. 
There are no walking feet, but a pair of fins or paddles 


like those oi Ichthyosaurus. Cope, who has described 
these great creatures as they occur in the Cretaceous 
of the United States, thus sketches the Mosasaur : " It 
was a long and slender reptile, with a pair of powerful 
paddles in front, a moderately long neck, and flat 
pointed head. The very long tail was flat and deep, 
like that of a great eel, forming a powerful pro- 
peller. The arches of the vertebral column were more 
extensively interlocked than in any other reptiles 
except the snakes. In the related genus Clidastes 
this structure is as fully developed as in the serpents, 
so that we can picture to ourselves its well-known con- 
sequences ; their rapid progress through the water by 
lateral undulations, their lithe motions on the land, the 
rapid stroke, the ready coil, or the elevation of the head 
and vertebral column, literally a living pillar, towering 
above the waves or the thickets of the shore swamps." 
As in serpents,- the mouth was wide in its gape, 
and the lower jaw capable of a certain separation from 
the skull to admit of swallowing large prey. Besides 
this the lower jaw had an additional peculiarity, seen 
in some snakes, namely, a joint in the middle of the 
jaw enabling its sides to expand, so that the food 
might be swallowed "between the branches of the 
jaw/' Perhaps no creatures more fully realize in 
their enormous length and terrible powers the great 
Tanninim (the stretched-out or extended reptiles) of 
the fifth day of the Mosaic record, than the Mosa- 
saurus and Elasmosaurus. When Mr. Cope showed 
me, a few years ago, a nearly complete skeleton 


of Elasmosaurus, which for want of space he had 
stretched on a gallery along two sides of a large room, 
I could not help suggesting to him that the name of 
the creature should be Teinosaurus * instead of that 
which he had given. Marsh has recently ascertained 
that the Mosasaurs were covered in part at least with 
bony scales. 

These animals may serve as specimens of the 
reptilian giants of the Mesozoic seas; but before 
leaving them we must at least invite attention to 
the remarkable fact that they were contemporary 
with species which represent the more common 
aquatic reptiles of the modern world. In other 
words, the monsters which we have described ex- 
isted over and above a far more abundant popu- 
lation of crocodiles and turtles than the modern 
waters can boast. The crocodiles were represented 
both in Europe and America by numerous and 
large species, most of them with long snouts like 
the modern G-avials, a few with broad heads like 
those of the alligators. The turtles again presented 
not only many species, but most of the aquatic 
subdivisions of the group known in modern times, 
as for instance the Emydes or ordinary fresh-water 
forms, the snapping turtles, and the soft-shelled 
turtles. Cope says that the Cretaceous of New 
Jersey alone affords twenty species, one of them 
a snapping turtle six feet in length. Owen records 

*Heb. Tanan; Gr. Teino, Tanuo ; Sansc. Tanu ; Lat. Tendo. 
-Ges. Lex. 


above a dozen large species from the Upper Meso- 
zoic of England, and dates the first appearance of 
the turtles in England about the time of the 
Portland stone, or in the upper half of the Meso- 
zoicj but footprints supposed to be those of turtles 
are -found as far back as the Trias. Perhaps no 
type of modern reptiles is more curiously special- 
ized than these animals, yet we thus find them 
contemporaneous with many generalized types, and 
entering into existence perhaps as soon as they. 
The turtles did not culminate in the Mesozoic, but 
go on to be represented by more numerous and 
larger species in the Tertiary and Modern. In the 
case of the crocodiles, while they attained perhaps 
a maximum toward the end of the Mesozoic, it 
was in a peculiar form. The crocodiles of this 
old time had vertebrae with a hollow at each end 
like the fishes, or with a projection in the front. 
At the end of the Mesozoic this was changed, and 
they assumed a better-knit back, with joints having 
a ball behind and a socket in front. In the 
Cretaceous age, species having these two kinds of 
backbone were contemporaneous. Perhaps this im- 
provement in the crocodilian back had something 
to do with the persistence of this type after so 
many others of the sea-lizards of the Mesozoic 
had passed away. 

Of the fishes of the Mesozoic we need only say 
that they were very abundant, and consisted of 
sharks and ganoids of various types, until near 


the close of the period, when the ordinary horny- 
scaled fishes, such as abound in our present seas, 
appear to have been introduced. One curious point 
of difference is that the unequally lobed tail of 
the Palaeozoic fishes is dropped in the case of the 
greater part of the ganoids, and replaced by the 
squarely-cut tail prevalent in modern times. 

In the sub -kingdom of the Mollusca many im- 
portant revolutions occurred. Among the lamp- 
shells a little Leptaena, no bigger than a pea, is 
the last and depauperated representative of a great 
Palaeozoic family. Another, that of the Spirifers, 
still shows a few species in the Lower Mesozoic. 
Others, like Rhynchonella, and Terebratula, continue 
through the period, and extend into the Modern. 
Passing over the ordinary bivalves and sea-snails, 
which in the main conform to those of our own 
time, we find perhaps the most wonderful changes 
among the relatives of the cuttle-fishes and Nautili. 
As far back as the Silurian we find the giant 
Orthoceratites contemporary with Nautili, very like 
those of the present ocean. With the close of the 
Palaeozoic, however, the Orthoceratites and their 
allies disappear, while the Nautili continue, and are 
reinforced by multitudes of new forms of spiral 
chambered shells, some of them more wonderful 
and beautiful than any of those which either pre- 
ceded or followed them. Supreme among these is 
the great group of the Ammonites, beautifully 
spiral shells, thin and pearly like the Nautilus, and 


chambered like it, so as to serve as a float, but 
far more elaborately constructed, inasmuch, as the 
chambers were not simply curved, but crimped and 
convoluted, so as to give the outer wall much more 
effectual support. This outer wall, too, was worked 
into ornamental ribs and bands, which not only 
gave it exquisite beauty, but contributed to com- 
bine strength to resist pressure with the lightness 
necessary to a float. In some of these points it 
is true the Gyroceras and Goniatites of the Palge- 
ozoic partially anticipated them, but much less per- 
fectly. The animals which inhabited these shells 
must have been similar to that of Nautilus, but 
somewhat different in the proportion of parts. They 
must have had the same power of rising and sink- 
ing in the water, but the mechanical construction 
of their shells was so much more perfect rela- 
tively to this end, that they were probably more 
active and locomotive than the Nautili. They must 
have swarmed in the Mesozoic seas, some beds of 
limestone and shale being filled with them; and 
as many as eight hundred species of this family 
are believed to be known, including, however, such 
forms as the Baculites or straight Ammonites, bear- 
ing to them perhaps a relation similar to that of 
Orthoceras to Nautilus. Further, some of the Am- 
monites are of gigantic size, one species being 
thres feet in diameter, while others are very minute. 
The whole family of Ammonitids, which begins to 
be in force in the Trias, disappears at the end of 


the Mesozoic, so that this may be called the special 
age of Ammonites as well as of reptiles. 

Further, this time was likewise distinguished by 
the introduction of true cuttle-fishes, the most re- 
markable of which were those furnished with the 
internal supports or "bones," known as Belemnites, 
from a fancied resemblance to javelins or thunder- 
bolts, a comparison at least as baseless as thai 
often made in England of the Ammonites to fossil 
snakes. The shell of the Belemnite is a most cu- 
rious structure. Its usual general shape is a pointed 
cylinder or elongated cone. At top it has a deej 
cavity for the reception of certain of the viscera 
of the animal. Below this is a conical series of 
chambers, the Phragmacone ; and the lower half of 
the shell is composed of a solid shelly mass or 
guard, which, in its structure of radiating fibres 
and concentric -layers, resembles a stalactite, or a 
petrified piece of exogenous wood. This structure 
was an internal shell or support like those of the 
modern cuttle-fishes; but it is difficult to account 
for its peculiarities, so much more complex than 
in any existing species. The most rational suppo- 
sition seems to be that it was intended to serve 
the triple purpose of a support, a float, and a sinker. 
Unlike the shell of a Nautilus, if thrown into the 
water it would no doubt have sunk, and with the 
pointed end first. Consequently, it was not a float 
simply, but a float and sinker combined, and its 
effect must have been to keep the animal at the 


bottom, with its head upward. The Belemnite was 
therefore an exceptional cuttle-fish, intended to 
stand erect on the sea-bottom and probably to dart 
upward in search of its prey ; for the suckers and 
hooks with which its arms were furnished show 
that, like other cuttle-fishes, it was carnivorous and 
predaceous. The guard may have been less pon- 
derous when recent than in the fossil specimens, 
and in some species it was of small size or slender, 
and in others it was hollow. Possibly, also, the 
soft tissues of the animal were not dense, and it 
may have had swimming fins at the sides. In any 
case they must have been active creatures, and 
no doubt could dart backward by expelling water 
from their gill chamber, while we know that they 
had ink-bags, provided with that wonderfully di- 
vided pigment, inimitable by art, with which the 
modern Sepia darkens the water to shelter itself 
from its enemies. The Belemnites must have 
swarmed in the Mesozoic seas; and as squids and 
cuttles now afford choice morsels to the larger 
fishes, so did the Belemnites in their day. There 
is evidence that even the great sea-lizards did not 
disdain to feed on them We can imagine a great 
shoal of these creatures darting up and down, 
seizing with their ten hooked arris their finny or 
crustacean prey. In an instant a great fish or 
saurian darts down among them ; they blacken the 
water with a thick cloud of inky secretion and 
disperse on all sides, while their enemy, blindly 


seizing a few mouthfuls, returns sullenly to the 
surface. A great number of species of Belemnites 
and allied animals have been described; but it is 
probable that in naming them too little regard has 
been paid to distinctions of age and sex. The 
Belemnites were for the most part small creatures ; 
but there is evidence that there existed with them 
some larger and more formidable cuttles ; and it 
is worthy of noto that, in several of these, the 
arms, as in the Belemnites, were furnished with 
hooks as well as suckers, an exceptional arrange- 
ment in their modern allies. It is probable that 
while the four-gilled or shell-bearing cuttles culmi- 
nated in size and perfection in the Ammonitids of 
the Mesozoic, the modern cuttles of the two-gilled 
and shell-less type are grander in dimensions than 
their Mesozoic predecessors. It is, however, not a 
little singular that a group so peculiar and appar- 
ently so well provided with means, both of offence 
and defence, as the Belemnites, should come in and 
go out with the Mesozoic, and that the Nautiloid 
group, after attaining to the magnitude and com- 
plexity of the great Ammonites, should retreat to 
a few species of diminutive and simply-constructed 
Nautili ; and in doing so should return to one of 
the old types dating as far back as the older Palae- 
ozoic, and continuing unchanged through all the 
intervening time. 

The Crustaceans of the Mesozoic had lost all the 
antique peculiarities of the older time, and had so 



much of the aspect of those of the present day, 
that an ordinary observer, if he could be shown a 
quantity of Jurassic or Cretaceous crabs, lobsters, 
and shrimps, would not readily recognise the differ- 
ence, which did not exceed what occurs in distant 
geographical regions in the present day. The same 
remark may be made as to the corals of the 
Mesozoic ; and with some limitations, as to the 
star-fishes and sea-urchins, which latter are espe- 
cially numerous and varied in the Cretaceous age. 
In short, all the invertebrate forms of life, and 
the fishes and reptiles among the vertebrates, had 
already attained their maximum elevation in the 
Mesozoic ; and some of them have subsequently 
sunk considerably in absolute as well as relative 

In the course of the Mesozoic, as indicated in the 
last chapter, there had been several great depressions 
and re-elevations of the Continental Areas. But these 
had been of the same quiet and partial character with 
those of the Palaeozoic, and it was not until the close 
of the Mesozoic time, in the Cretaceous age, that a 
great and exceptional subsidence involved for a long 
period the areas of our present continents in a sub- 
mergence wider and deeper than any that had pre- 
viously occurred since the dry land first rose out of 
the waters. 

Every one knows the great chalk beds which ap- 
pear in the south of England, and which have given its' 
name to the latest age of the Mesozoic. This great 


deposit of light-coloured and usually soft calcareous 
matter attains in some places to the enormous thick- 
ness of 1,000 feet. Nor is it limited in extent. 
According to Lyell, its European distribution is from 
Ireland to the Crimea, a distance of 1,140 geo- 
graphical miles; and from the south of France to 
Sweden, a distance of 840 geographical miles. Simi- 
lar rocks, though not in all cases of the precise nature 
of chalk, occur extensively in Asia and in Africa, and 
also in North and South America. 

But what is chalk ? It was, though one of the most 
familiar, one of the most inscrutable of rocks, until 
the microscope revealed its structure. The softer 
varieties, gently grated or kneaded down in water, or 
the harder varieties cut in thin slices, show a con- 
geries of microscopic chambered shells belonging to 
the humble and simple group of Protozoa. These 
shells and their fragments constitute the material of 
the ordinary chalk. With these are numerous spicules 
of sponges and silicious cell-walls of the minute one- 
celled plants called Diatoms. Further, the flinty 
matter of these organisms has by the law of molecular 
attraction been collected into concretions, which are 
the flints of the chalk. Such a rock is necessarily 
oceanic; but more than this, it is abyssal. Laborious 
dredging has shown that similar matter is now being 
formed only in the deep bed of the ocean, whither no 
sand or mud is drifted from the land, and where the 
countless hosts of microscopic shell-bearing protozoa 
continually drop their little skeletons on the bottom, 


slowly accumulating a chalky mud or slime. That 
such a rock should occur over vast areas of the con- 
tinental plateaus, that both in Europe and America it 
should be found to cover the tops of hills several 
thousand feet high, and that its thickness should 
amount to several hundreds of feet, are facts which 
evidence a revolution more stupendous perhaps than 
that at the close of the Paleeozoic. For the first time 
since the Laurentian, the great continental plateaus 
changed places with the abysses of the ocean, and the 
successors of the Laurentian Eozoon again reigned on 
surfaces which through the whole lapse of Palasozoic 
and Mesozoic time had been separated more or less 
from that deep ocean out of which they rose at first. 
This great Cretaceous subsidence was different from 
the disturbances of the Permian age. There was at 
first no crumpling of the crust, but merely a slow 
and long- continued sinking of the land areas, followed, 
however, by crumpling of the most stupendous cha- 
racter, which led at the close of the Cretaceous and 
in the earlier Tertiary - to the formation of what are 
now the greatest mountain chains in the world. As 
examples may be mentioned the Himalaya, the 
Andes, and the Alps, on all which the deep-sea beds 
of the Cretaceous are seen at great elevations. In 
Europe this depression was almost universal, only very 
limited areas remaining out of water. In America 
a large tract remained above water in the region of 
the Appalachians. This gives us some clue to the 
phenomena. The great Permian collapse led to the 


crumpling-up of the Appalachians and the Urals, and 
the older hills of Western Europe. The Cretaceous 
collapse led to the crumpling of the great N.W. and 
S.E. chain of the Rocky Mountains and Andes, and 
to that of the east and west chains of the south of 
Asia and Europe. The cause was probably in both 
cases the same j but the crust gave way in a different 
part, and owing to this there was a greater amount 
of submergence of our familiar continental plateaus 
in the Cretaceous than in the Permian. 

Another remarkable indication of the nature of the 
Cretaceous subsidence, is the occurrence of beds filled 
with grains of the mineral Glauconite or " green- 
sand." These grains are not properly sand, but little 
concretions, which form in the bottom of the deep sea, 
often filling and taking casts of the interior and fine 
tubes of Foraminiferal shells. Now this Glauconite, 
a hydrous silicate of iron and potash, is akin to similar 
materials found filling the pores of fossils in Silurian 
beds. It is also akin to the Serpentine filling the 
pores of Eozoon in the Laurentian. Such materials 
are formed only in the deeper parts of the ocean, 
and apparently most abundantly where currents of 
warm water are flowing at the surface, as in the area 
of the Gulf Stream. Thus, not only in the prevalence 
of Foraminifera, but in the formation of hydrous sili- 
cates, does the Cretaceous recall the Laurentian. Such 
materials had no doubt been forming, and such animals 
living in the ocean depths, all through the intervening 
ages, but with the exception of a few and merely 


local instances, we know nothing of them, till the 
great subsidence and re-elevation of the Cretaceous 
again allows them to ascend to the continental 
plateaus, and again introduces us to this branch of 
the world-making process. 

The attention recently drawn to these facts by the 
researches of Dr. Carpenter and others, and especially 
the similarity in mineral character and organic re- 
mains of some of the deposits now forming in the 
Atlantic and those of the chalk, have caused it to be 
affirmed that in the bed of the Atlantic these con- 
ditions of life and deposit have continued from the 
Cretaceous up to the present time, or as it has been 
expressed, that " we are still living in the Cretaceous 
epoch." Now, this is true or false just as we apply 
the statement. We have seen that the distinction be- 
tween abyssal areas, continental oceanic plateaus, and 
land surfaces has extended through the whole lapse 
of geological time. In this broad sense we may be 
said to be still living in the Laurentian epoch. In 
other words, the whole plan of the earth's develop- 
ment is one and the same, and each class of general 
condition once introduced is permanent somewhere. 
But in another important sense we are not living in 
the Cretaceous epoch; otherwise the present site of 
London would be a thousand fathoms deep in the 
ocean ; the Ichthyosaurs and Ammonites would be dis- 
porting themselves in the water, and the huge Dino- 
saurs and strange Pterodactyls living on the land. The 
Italian peasant is still in many important points living 


in the period of the old Roman Empire. The Arab 
of the desert remains in the Patriarchal period, and 
there are some tribes not yet beyond the primitive age 
of stone. But the world moves, nevertheless, and the 
era of Victoria is not that of the Plantagenets or of 
Julius Caesar. So while we may admit that certain of 
the conditions of the Cretaceous seas still prevail in 
the bed of the present ocean, we must maintain that 
nearly all else is changed, and that the very existence 
of the partial similarity is of itself the most con- 
clusive proof of the general want of resemblance, and 
of the thorough character of the changes which have 

The duration of the Cretaceous subsidence must 
have been very great. We do not know the rate 
at which the Foraminifera accumulate calcareous mud 
In some places, where currents heap up their shells, 
they may be gathered rapidly ; but on the average of 
the ocean bed, a foot of such material must indicate the 
lapse of ages very long when compared with those of 
modern history. We need not wonder, therefore, that 
while some forms of deep-sea Cretaceous life, especially 
of the lower grades, seem to have continued to our 
time, the inhabitants of the shallow waters and the 
land have perished ; and that the Neozoic or Tertiary 
period introduces us to a new world of living beings. 
I say we need not wonder ; yet there is no reason 
why we should expect this as a necessary consequence. 
As the Cretaceous deluge rose over the continents of 
the Mesozoic, the great sea saurians might have fol- 


lowed. Those of the land might have retreated to 
the tracts still remaining out of water, and when the 
dry land again appeared in the earlier Tertiary, they 
might again have replenished the earth, and we might 
thus have truly been living in the Reptilian age up to 
this day. But it was not so. The old world again 
perished, and the dawn of the Tertiary shows to us at 
once the dynasties of the Mammalian age, which wap 
to culminate in the introduction of man. With the 
great Cretaceous subsidence the curtain falls upon the 
age of reptiles, and when it rises again, after the vast 
interval occupied in the deposition of the greensand 
and chalk, the scene has entirely changed. There 
are new mountains and new plains, forests of different 
type, and animals such as no previous age had 

How strange and inexplicable is this perishing of 
types in the geological ages ! Some we could well 
spare. We would not wish to have our coasts in- 
fested by terrible sea saurians, or our forests by car- 
nivorous Dinosaurs. Yet why should these tyrants 
of creation so utterly disappear without waiting for 
us to make war on them ? Other types we mourn. 
How glorious would the hundreds of species of Am- 
monites have shone in the cases of our museums, had 
they still lived ! What images of beauty would they 
have afforded to the poets who have made so much of 
the comparatively humble Nautilus ! How perfectly, 
too, were they furnished with all those mechanical 
appliances for their ocean life, which are bestowed 


only with a niggardly hand on their successors ! 
Nature gives us no explanation of the mystery. 

" From scarped cliff and quarried stone, 
She cries 'A thousand types are gone.' " 

But why or how one was taken and another left she 
is silent, and I believe must continue to be so, because 
the causes, whether efficient or final, are beyond her 
sphere. If we wish for a full explanation, we must 
leave Nature, and ascend to the higher domain of the 

NOTE. In the description of the chalk on page 227, it should 
have been stated that it contains, in addition to the tests of 
Foraminifera, great quantities of the minute oval or rounded 
calcareous bodies named Coccoliths, and believed to be of 
vegetable origin. There are also some reasons for believing 
that much of the chalk was not deposited in water so deep as 
that in which similar deposits are now usually found, though 
it is no doubt strictly an oceanic formation. 

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BETWEEN the Mesozoic and the next succeeding time, 
which may he known as the Neozoic or Tertiary,* 
there is in the arrangements of most geologists a great 
break in the succession of life ; and undoubtedly the 
widespread and deep subsidence of the Cretaceous, 
followed by the elevation of land on a great scale at 
the beginning of the next period, is a physical cause 
sufficient to account for vast life changes. Yet we 
must not forget to consider that even in the Cre- 
taceous itself there were new features beginning to 
appear. Let us note in this way, in the first place, 
the introduction of the familiar generic forms of exo- 
genous trees. Next we may mention the decided 
prevalence of the modern types of coral animals and of 
a great number of modern generic forms of mollusks. 
Then we have the establishment of the modern tribes 
of lobsters and crabs, and the appearance of nearly all 
the orders of insects. Among vertebrates, the ordi- 
nary fishes are now introduced. Modern orders of 

* The former name is related to Palaeozoic and Mesozoic, the 
latter to the older terms Primary and Secondary. For the 
sake of euphony we shall use both. The term Neozoic was 
proposed by Edward Forbes for the Mesozoic and Cainozoic 
combined ; but I use it here as a more euphonious and accurate 
term for the Cainozoic alone. 


reptiles, as the crocodiles and chelonians, had already 
appeared, and the first mammals. Henceforth the 
progress of organic nature lies chiefly in the dropping 
of many Mesozoic forms and in the introduction of the 
higher tribes of mammals and of man. 

It is further to be observed that the new things 
introduced in the later Mesozoic came in little by little 
in the progress of the period, and anticipated the great 
physical changes occurring at its close. On the other 
hand, while many family and even generic types pass 
over from the Mesozoic to the earlier Tertiary, very 
few species do so. It would seem, therefore, as if 
changes of species were more strictly subordinate to 
physical revolutions than were changes of genera and 
orders these last overriding under different specific 
forms many minor vicissitudes, and only in part being 
overwhelmed in the grander revolutions of the earth. 

Both in Europe and America there is evidence of 
great changes of level at the beginning of the Ter- 
tiary. In the west of Europe beds often of shallow- 
water or even fresh-water origin fill the hollows in 
the bent Cretaceous strata. This is manifestly the 
case with the formations of the London and Paris 
basins, contemporaneous but detached deposits of the 
Tertiary age, lying in depressions of the chalk. Still 
this does not imply much want of conformity, and 
according to the best explorers of those Alpine regions 
in which both the Mesozoic and Tertiary beds have 
been thrown up to great elevations, they are in the 
main conformable to one another. Something of the 


same kind occurs in America. On the Atlantic coast 
the marine beds of the Older Tertiary cover the Creta- 
ceous, and little elevation seems to have occurred. 
Farther west the elevation increases, and in the upper 
part of the valley of the Mississippi it amounts to 
1700 feet. Still farther west, in the region of the 
Rooky Mountains, there is evidence of elevation to the 
extent of as much as 7000 feet. Throughout all these 
regions scarcely any disturbance of the old Cretaceous 
sea-bottom seems to have occurred until after the 
deposition of the older Tertiary, so that there was first 
a slow and general elevation of the Cretaceous ocean 
bottom, succeeded by gigantic folds and fractures, and 
extensive extravasations of the bowels of the earth in 
molten rocks, in the course of the succeeding Tertiary 
age. These great physical changes inaugurated the 
new and higher life of the Tertiary, just as the similar 
changes in the Permian did that of the Mesozoic. 

The beginning of these movements consisted of a 
great and gradual elevation of the northern parts of 
both the Old and New Continents out of the sea, 
whereby a much greater land surface was produced, 
and such changes of depth and direction of currents 
in the ocean as must have very much modified the 
conditions of marine life. The effect of all these 
changes in the aggregate was to cause a more varied 
and variable climate, and to convert vast areas pre- 
viously tenanted by marine animals into the abodes of 
animals and plants of the land, and of estuaries, lakes,, 
and shallow waters. Still, however, very large areas 


now continental were under the sea. As the Tertiary 
period advanced, these latter areas were elevated, and 
in many cases were folded up into high mountains. 
This produced further changes of climate and habitat 
of animals, and finally brought our continents into all 
the variety of surface which they now present, and 
which fits them so well for the habitation of the higher 
animals and of man. 

The thoughtful reader will observe that it follows 
from the above statements that the partial distribu- 
tion and diversity in different localities which apply to 
the deposits of such ages as the Permian and the Trias 
apply also to the earlier Tertiary ; and as the conti- 
nents, notwithstanding some dips under water, have 
retained their present forms since the beginning of 
the Tertiary, it follows that these beds are more defi- 
nitely related to existing geographical conditions than 
are those of the older periods, and that the more 
extensive marine deposits of the Tertiary are, to a 
great extent, unknown to us. This has naturally led 
to some difficulty in the classification of Neozoic 
deposits those of some of the Tertiary ages being 
very patchy and irregular, while others spread very 
widely. In consequence of this, Sir Charles Lyell, to 
whom we owe very much of our definite knowledge of 
this period, has proposed a subdivision based on the 
percentage of recent and fossil animals. In other 
words, he takes it for granted that a deposit which 
contains more numerous species of animals still living 
than another, may be judged on that account to be 


more recent. Such a mode of estimation is, no doubt, 
to some extent arbitrary \ but in the main, when it 
can be tested by the superposition of deposits, it has 
proved itself reliable. Further, it brings before us 
this remarkable fact, that while in the older periods 
all the animals whose remains we find are extinct as 
species, so soon as we enter on the Neozoic we find 
some which still continue to our time at first only a 
very few, but in later and later beds in gradually 
increasing percentage, till the fossil and extinct wholly 
disappear in the recent and living. 

The Lyellian classification of the Tertiary will 
therefore stand as in the following table, bearing in 
mind that the percentage of fossils is taken from 
marine forms, and mainly from mollusks, and that the 
system has in some cases been modified by strati- 
graphical evidence : 

POST- PLIOCENE, including that which immediate- 
ly precedes the Modern. In this the shells, 
etc., are recent, the Mammalia in part ex- 

PLIOCENE, or more recent age. In this the 
Tertiary, or / majority of shells found are recent in the 
Neozoic Time.\ upper beds. In the lower beds the extinct 
become predominant. 

MIOCENE, or less recent. In this the large 
majority of shells found are extinct. 

EOCENE, the dawn of the recent. In this only a 
few recent shells occur. 

If we attempt to divide the Tertiary time into ages 
corresponding to those of the older times, we are met 


by the difficulty that as the continents have retained 
their present forms and characters to a great extent 
throughout this time, we fail to find those evidences 
of long- continued submergences of the whole conti- 
nental plateaus, or very large portions of them, which 
we have found so very valuable in the Palaeozoic and 
Mesozoic. In the Eocene, however, we shall discover 
one very instructive case in the great Nnmmulitic 
Limestone. In the Miocene and Pliocene the oscilla- 
tions seem to have been slight and partial. In the 
Post-pliocene we have the great subsidence of the 
glacial drift; but that seems to have been a compara- 
tively rapid dip, though of long duration when mea- 
sured by human history; not allowing time for the 
formation of great limestones, but only of fossiliferous 
sands and clays, which require comparatively short 
time for their deposition. If then we ask as to the 
duration of the Neozoic, I answer that we have not a 
definite measure of its ages, if it had any ; and that it 
is possible that the Neozoic may have as yet had but 
one age, which closed with the great drift period, and 
that we are now only in the beginning of its second 
age. Some geologists, impressed with this compara- 
tive shortness of the Tertiary, connect it with Meso- 
zoic, grouping both together. This, however, is 
obviously unnatural. The Mesozoic time certainly 
terminated with the Cretaceous, and what follows 
belongs to a distinct aeon. 

But we must now try to paint the character of this 
new and peculiar time ; and this may perhaps be best 


done in the following sketches : 1 . Tho seas of the 
Eocene. 2. Mammals from the Eocene to the Modern. 
3. Tertiary floras. 4. The Glacial period. 5. The 
Advent of Man. 

The great elevation of the continents which closed 
the Cretaceous was followed by a partial and unequal 
subsidence, affecting principally the more southern 
parts of the land of the northern hemisphere. Thus, 
a wide sea area stretched across all the south of 
Europe and Asia, and separated the northern part of 
North America from what of land existed in the 
southern hemisphere. This is the age of the great 
Nummulitic Limestones of Europe, Africa, and Asia, 
and the Orbitoidal Limestones of North America. The 
names are derived from the prevalence of certain 
forms of those humble shell-bearing protozoa which 
we first met with in 'the Laurentian, and which we 
have found to be instrumental in building up the 
chalk, the Foraminifera of zoologists. (Fig. p. 243.) 
But in the Eocene the species of the chalk were re- 
placed by certain broad flat forms, the appearance of 
which is expressed by the term nummulite, or money- 
stone; the rock appearing to be made up of fossils, 
somewhat resembling shillings, sixpences, or three- 
penny pieces, according to the size of the shells, each 
of which includes a vast number of small concentric 
chambers, which during life were filled with the soft 
/elly of the animal. The nummulite limestone was 
undoubtedly oceanic, and the other shells contained 
iii it, are marine species. After what we have already 


seen we do not need this limestone to convince us of 
the continent-building powers of the oceanic protozoa; 
but the distribution of these limestones, and the ele- 
vation which they attain, furnish the most striking 
proofs that we can imagine of the changes which the 
earth's crust has undergone in times geologically 
modern, and also of the extreme newness of man and 
his works. Large portions of those countries which 
constitute the earliest seats of man in Southern Europe, 
Northern Africa, and Western and Southern Asia, 
are built upon the old nummulitic sea-bottom. The 
Egyptians and many other ancient nations quarried it 
for their oldest buildings. In some of these regions it 
attains a thickness of several thousand feet, eviden- 
cing a lapse of time in its accumulation equal to that 
implied in the chalk itself. In the Swiss Alps it 
reaches a height above the sea of 10,000 feet, and it 
enters largely into the structure of the Carpathians 
and Pyrenees. In Thibet it has been observed at an 
elevation of 16,500 feet above the sea. Thus we learn 
that at a time no more geologically remote than the 
Eocene Tertiary, lands now of this great elevation 
were in the bottom of the deep sea; and this not 
merely for a little time, but during a time sufficient 
for the slow accumulation of hundreds of feet of rock, 
made up of the shells of successive generations of 
animals. If geology presented to us no other revela- 
tion than this one fact, it would alone constitute one 
of the most stupendous pictures in physical geography 
which could be presented to the imagination. I beg 



leave here to present to the reader a little illustration 
of the limestone-making Foraminifcra of tho Greta- 

A. Nummulites Isevigata Eoc 

B. The same, showing chambered interior. 

C. Milioline limestone, magnified Eocene, Paris. 

D. Hard Chalk, section magnified Cretaceous. 

ceous and Eocene seas. In the middle above is a 
nummulite of the natural size. Below is another, 
sliced to show its internal chambers. At one side is a 
magnified section of the common building stone of 
Paris, the milioline limestone of the Eocene, so called 
from its immense abundance of microscopic shells of 
the genus Miliolina. At the other side is a magnified 
section of one of the harder varieties of chalk, ground 
so thin as to become transparent,* and mounted in 
Canada balsam. It shows many microscopic cham- 
* As for instance that of the Giant's Causeway, Antrim. 


bered shells of Foraminifeva. These may serve as 
illustrations of the functions of these humble inhabi- 
tants of the sea as accumulators of calcareous matter. 
It is further interesting to remark that some of the 
beds of nummulitic limestone are so completely filled 
with these shells, that we might from detached speci- 
mens suppose that they belonged to sea-bottoms 
whereon no other form of life was present. Yet some 
beds of this age are remarkably rich in other fossils. 
Lyell states that as many as six hundred species of 
shells have been found in the principal limestone of 
the Paris basin alone; and the lower Eocene beds 
afford remains of fishes, of reptiles, of birds, and of 
mammals. Among the latter are the bones of gigan- 
tic whales, of which one of the most remarkable is the 
Zeuglodon of Alabama, a creature sometimes seventy 
Ceet in length, and which replaces in the Tertiai-y the 
great Elasmosaurs and Ichthyosaurs of the Mesozoic, 
marking the advent, even in the sea, of the age of 
Mammals as distinguished from the age of Eeptiles. 

This fact leads us naturally to consider in the second 
place the mammalia, and other land animals of the 
Tertiary. At the beginning of the period we meet 
with that higher group of mammals, not pouched, 
which now prevails. Among the oldest of these 
Tertiary beasts are Coryphodon, an animal related to 
the Modern Tapirs, and Arctocyon, a creature related 
to the bears and racoons. These animals represent 
respectively the Pachyderms, or thick-skinned mam- 
mals,, ar.d the ordinary Carnivora. Contemporary with 


or shortly succeeding these, were species representing 
the Rodents, or gnawing animals, and many other 
creatures of the group Pachydermata, allied to the 
Modern Tapirs and Hogs, as well as several additional 
carnivorous quadrupeds. Thug at the very beginning 
of the Tertiary period we enter on the age of mammals. 
It may be well, however, to take these animals some- 
what in chronological order. 

If the old Egyptian, by quarrying the nummulite 
limestone, bore unconscious testimony to the recent 
origin of man (whose remains are wholly absent from 
the Tertiary deposits), so did the ancient Britons and 
Gauls, when they laid the first rude foundations of 
future capitals on the banks of the Thames and of 
the Seine. Both cities lie in basins of Eocene Tertiary, 
occupying hollows in the chalk. Under London there 
is principally a thick bed of clay, the "London clay," 
attaining a thickness of five hundred feet. This bed 
is obviously marine, containing numerous species of 
sea shells ; but it must have been deposited near land, 
as it also holds many fossil fruits and other remains of 
plants to which we shall refer in the sequel, and the 
bones of several species of large animals. Among 
these the old reptiles of the Mesozoic are repre- 
sented by the vertebrse of a supposed "sea snake" 
(PalaBopliis) thirteen feet long, and species of crocodile 
allied both to the alligators and the gavials. But be- 
sides these there are bones of several animals allied 
to the hog and tapir, and also a species of opossum. 
These remains must be drift carcases from neighbour- 


ing shores, and they show first the elevation of the old 
deep-sea bottom represented by the chalk, so that part 
of it became dry land ; next, the peopling of that land 
by tribes of animals and plants unknown to the Meso- 
zoic ; and lastly, that a warm climate must have existed, 
enabling England at this time to support many types 
of animals and plants now proper to intertropical 
regions. As Lyell well remarks, it is most interesting 
to observe that these beds belong to the beginning 
of the Tertiary, that they are older than those great 
numinulite limestones to which we have referred, and 
that they are older than the principal mountain chains 
of Europe and Asia. They show that no sooner was 
the Cretaceous sea dried from off the new land, than 
there were abundance of animals and plants ready to 
occupy it, and these not the survivors of the flora and 
fauna of the Wealden, but a new creation. The men- 
tion of the deposit last named places this in a striking 
light. We have seen that the Wealden beds, undtr 
the chalk, represent a Mesozoic estuary, and in it wo 
have the remains of the animals and plants of the land 
that then was. The great Cretaceous subsidence inter- 
vened, and in the London clay we have an estuary of 
the Eocene. But if we pass through the galleries of 
a museum where these formations are represented, 
though we know that both existed in the same locality 
under a warm climate, we see that they belong to two 
different worlds, the one to that of the Dinosaurs, the 
Ammonites, the Cycads, and the minute Marsupials of 
the Mesozoic, the other to that of the Pachyderms, the 
Palms, and the Nautili of the Tertiary. 


The London clay is lower Eocene; but in the beds 
of the Isle of Wight and neighbouring parts of the 
South of England, we have the middle and upper mem- 
bers of the series. They are not, however, so largely 
developed as in the Paris basin, where, resting on the 
equivalent of the London clay, we have a thick marine 
limestone, the Calcaire Grossier, abounding in marine 
remains, and in some beds composed of shells of 
foraminifera. The sea in which this limestone was de- 
posited, a portion no doubt of the great Atlantic area 
of the period, became shallow, so that beds of sand 
succeeded those of limestone, and finally it was dried 
up into lake basins, in which gypsum, magnesian sedi- 
ments, and siliceous limestone were deposited. These 
lakes or ponds must at some period have resembled 
the American " salt-licks," and were no doubt resorted 
to by animals from all the surrounding country in 
search of the saline mud and water which they afforded. 
Hence in some marly beds intervening between the 
layers of gypsum, numerous footprints occur, exactly 
like those already noticed in the Trias. Had there 
been a Nimrod in those days to watch with bow or 
boomerang by the muddy shore, he would have seen 
herds of heavy short-legged and three-hoofed monsters 
(Palaeotherium), with large heads and long snouts, 
probably scantily covered with sleek hair, and closely 
resembling the Modern Tapirs of South America and 
India, laboriously wading through the mud, and 
grunting with indolent delight as they rolled them- 
selves in the cool saline slime. Others more light and 


graceful, combining some features of the antelope with 
those of the Tapir (Anoplotherium) ran in herds over 
the drier ridges, or sometimes timidly approached the 
treacherous clay, tempted by the saline waters. Other 
creatures representing the Modern Damans or Conies 
"feeble folk" which, with the aspect of hares, have 
the structure of Pachyderms were also present. 
Creatures of these types constituted the great majority 
of the animals of the Parisian Eocene lakes ; but there 
were also Carnivorous animals allied to the hyaena, 
the wolf, and the opossum, which prowled along the 
shores by night to seize unwary wanderers, or to prey 
on the carcases of animals mired in the sloughs. 
Wading birds equal in size to the ostrich also stalked 
through the shallows, and tortoises crawled over the 

Lyell mentions the discovery of some bones of one 
of these gigantic birds (Gastornis) in a bed of the 
rolled chalk flints which form the base of the Paris 
series, resting immediately on the chalk; one of the 
first inhabitants perhaps to people some island of 
chalk just emerged from the waters, and under which 
lay the bones of the mighty Dinosaurs, and in which 
were embedded those of sea birds that had ranged, 
like the albatross and petrel, over the wide expanse 
of the Cretaceous ocean. These waders, however, like 
the tortoises and crocodiles and small marsupial 
mammals, form a link of connection in type at least 
between the Eocene and the Cretaceous, for bones of 
wading birds have been found in the Greensands 


indicating ihdir existence before the close of the 

The researches of Baron Cuvier in the bones col- 
lected in the quarries of Montniartre were regarded as 
an astonishing triumph of comparative anatomy ; and 
familiar as we now are with similar and yet more dif- 
ficult achievements, we can yet afford to regard with 
admiration the work of the great French naturalist 
as it is recorded in its collected form in his " Ee- 
cherches sur les Ossemens Fossiles," published in 
1812. His clear and philosophical views as to the 
plan perceptible in nature, his admirable powers of 
classification, his acute perception of the correlation 
of parts in animals, his nice discrimination of the 
resemblances and differences of fossil and recent 
structures, and of the uses of these, all mark him 
as one of the greatest minds ever devoted to the 
study of natural science. It is obvious, that had 
his intellect been occupied by the evolutionist meta- 
physics which pass for natural science with too many 
in our day, he would have effected comparatively 
little; and instead of the magnificent museum in the 
" Regne Animal " and the " Ossemens Fossiles," we 
might have had wearisome speculations on the de- 
rivation of species. It is reason for profound thank- 
fulness that it was not so; and also that so many 
great observers and thinkers of our day, like Sedg- 
wick, Murchison, Lyell, Owen, Dana, and Agassiz, 
have been allowed to work out their researches almost 
to completion before the advent of those poisoned 


streams and mephitic vapours which threaten the 
intellectual obscuration of those who should be their 

If we pass from the Eocene to the Miocene, still 
confining ourselves mainly to mammalian life, we find 
three remarkable points of difference (1) Whereas 
the Eocene mammals are remarkable for adherence to 
one general type, viz., that group of pachyderms most 
regular and complete in its dentition, we now find a 
great number of more specialised and peculiar forms; 
(2) We find in the latter period a far greater propor- 
tion of large carnivorous animals ; (3) We find much 
greater variety of mammals than either in the Eocene 
or the Modern, and a remarkable abundance of species 
of gigantic size. The Miocene is thus apparently the 
culminating age of the mammalia, in so far as physical 
development is concerned ; and this, as we shall find, 
accords with its remarkably genial climate and exu- 
berant vegetation. 

In Europe, the beds of this age present, for the 
first time, examples of the monkeys, represented by 
two generic types, both of them apparently related 
to the modern long-armed species, or Gibbons. 
Among carnivorous auimals we have cat-like crea- 
tures, one of which is the terrible Machairodus, dis- 
tinguished from all modern animals of its group by 
the long sabre-shaped canines of its upper jaw, fitting 
it to pull down and destroy those large pachyderms 
which could have easily shaken off a lion or a tiger 
Here also we have the elephants, represented by 


several species now extinct; the mastodon, a great, 
coarsely-built, hog-like elephant, some species of 
which had tusks both in the upper and lower jaw ; 
the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, and the horse, all 
of extinct species. We have also giraffes, stags, and 
antelopes, the first ruminants known to us, and a 
great variety of smaller and less noteworthy crea- 
tures. Here also, for the first time, we find the 
curious and exceptional group of Edentates, repre- 
sented by a large ant-eater. Of all the animals of 
the European Miocene, the most wonderful and un- 
like any modern beast, is the Dinotherium, found in 
tho Miocene of Epplesheim in Germany; and de- 
scribed by Kaup. Some doubt rests on the form 
and affinities of the animal; but we may reasonably 
take it, as restored by its describer, and currently 
reproduced in popular books, to have been a quad- 
ruped of somewhat elephantine form. Some years 
ago, however, a huge haunch bone, supposed to be- 
long to this creature, was discovered in the South of 
France ; and from this it was inferred that the 
Dinothere may have been a marsupial or pouched 
animal, perhaps allied in form and habits to the 
kangaroos. The skull is three feet four inches in 
length ; and when provided with its soft parts, in- 
cluding a snout or trunk in front, it must have been 
at least five or six feet long. Such a head, if it 
belonged to a quadruped of ordinary proportions, 
must represent an animal as large in proportion to 
our elephant as an elephant to an ox. But its size 


is uot its most remarkable feature. It has two large 
tusks firmly implanted in strong bony sockets; but 
they are attached to the end of the lower jaw and 
point downward at right angles to it, so that the 
lower jaw forms a sort of double-pointed pickaxe of 
great size and strength. This might have been used 
as a weapon; or, if the creature was aquatic, as a 
grappling iron to hold by the bank, or by floating 
timber; but more probably it was a grubbing-hoe 
for digging up roots or loosening the bases of trees 
which the animal might afterward pull down to devour 
them. However this may be, the creature laboured 
under the mechanical disadvantage of having to lift 
an immense weight in the process of mastication, and 
of being unable to bring its mouth to the ground, or 
to bite or grasp anything with the front of its jaws. 
To make up for this, it had muscles of enormous 
power on the sides of the head attached to great 
projecting processes ; and it had a thick but flexible 
proboscis, to place in its mouth the food grubbed up 
by its tusks. Taken altogether, the Dinothere is per- 
haps the most remarkable of mammals, fossil or re- 
cent; and if the rest of its frame were as extraordi- 
nary as its skull, we have probably as yet but a fauit 
conception of its peculiarities. We may apply to it, 
with added force, the admiring ejaculation of Job, 
when he describes the strength of the hippopotamus, 
" He is the chief of the ways of God. He who made 
him, gave him his sword." 

In Asia, the Siwalik hills afforded to Falconer and 


Cautley one of the most remarkable exhibitions of 
Miocene animals in the world. These hills form a 
ridge subordinate to the Himalayan chain; and rise 
to a height of 2,000 to 3,000 feet. In the Miocene 
period, they were sandy and pebbly shores and banks 
lying at the foot of the then infant Himalayas, which, 
with the table-lands to the north, probably formed a 
somewhat narrow east and west continental mass or 
large island. As a mere example of the marvellous 
fauna which inhabited this Miocene land, it has 
afforded remains of seven species of elephants, masto- 
dons, and allied animals ; one of them, the E. Ganesa, 
with tusks ten feet and a half long, and twenty- six 
inches in circumference at the base. Besides these 
there are five species of rhinoceros, three of horse 
and allied animals, four or more of hippopotamus, 
and species of camel, giraffe, antelope, sheep, ox, and 
many other genera, as well as numerous large and 
formidable beasts of prey. . There is also an ostrich ; 
and, among other reptiles, a tortoise having a shell 
twelve feet in length, and this huge roof must have 
covered an animal eighteen feet long and seven feet 
high. Among the more remarkable of the Siwalik 
animals is the Sivatherium, a gigantic four-horned 
antelope or deer, supposed to have been of elephantine 
size, ar.l of great power and swiftness; and to 
have presented features connecting the ruminants 
and pachyderms. Our restoration of this creature 
is to some extent conjectural; and a remarkably 
artistic, and probably more accurate, restoration of the 


auiraal lias recently been published by Dr. Murie, in 
the Geological Magazine. We justly regard the 
Mammalian fauna of modern India as one of the 
noblest in the world ; but it is paltry in comparison 
with that of the much more limited Miocene India; 
even if we suppose, contrary to all probability, that 
we know most of the animals of the latter. But if 
we "consider the likelihood that we do not yet know a 
tenth of the Miocene animals, the contrast becomes 
vastly greater. 

Miocene America is scarcely behind the Old World 
in the development of its land animals. From one 
locality in Nebraska, Leidy described in 1852 fifteen 
species of large quadrupeds ; and the number has 
since been considerably increased. Among these are 
species of Ehinoceros, Palaeotherium, and Machairo- 
dus ; and one animal, the Titanotherium, allied to the 
European Anoplothere, is said to have attained a 
length of eighteen feet and a height of nine, its 
jaws alone being five feet long. 

In the illustration, I have grouped some of the 
characteristic Mammalian forms of the Miocene, as 
we can restore them from their scattered bones, 
more or less conjecturally ; but could we have seen 
them march before us in all their majesty, like the 
Edenic animals before Adam, I feel persuaded that 
our impressions of this wonderful age would have 
tar exceeded anything that we can derive either 
from words or illustrations. I insist on this the 
more that the Miocene happens t< be very slenderly 


represented in Britain ; and scarcely at all in north- 
eastern America; and hence has not impressed the 
imagination of the English race so strongly as its 
impoi'tance justifies. 

The next succeeding period, that of the Pliocene, 
continues the conditions of the- last, but with signs 
of decadence. Many of the old gigantic pachyderms 
have disappeared; and in their stead some familiar 
xncdern genera, were introduced. The Pliocene was 
terminated by the cold or glacial period, in which a 
fbmarkable lowering of temperature occurred over all 
tho northern hemisphere, accompanied, at least in a 
portion of the time, by & very general and great 
subsidence, which laid all the lower parts of our 
continents under water. This terminated much of 
the life of the Pliocene, and replaced it with boreal 
and Arctic forms, some of them, like the great hairy 
Siberian mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros, fit 
successors of the gigantic Miocene fauna. How it 
happened that such creatures were continued during 
the Post-pliocene cold, we cannot understand till we 
have the Tertiary vegetation before us. It must 
suffice now to say, that as the temperature was 
modified, and the land rose, and the Modern period 
was inaugurated, these animals passed away, and 
those of the present time remained. 

Perhaps the most remarkable fact connected with 
this change, is that stated by Pictet, that all the 
modern European mammals are direct descendants 
of Post-pliocene species; but that in the Post-plio- 


cene they were associated with many other species ; 
and these, often of great dimensions, now extinct. 
In other words, the time from the Pliocene to the 
Modern, has been a time of diminution of species, 
while that from the Eocene to the Miocene was a 
time of rapid introduction of new species. Thus the 
Tertiary fauna culminated in the Miocene. Yet, 
strange though this may appear, Man himself, the 
latest and noblest of all, would seem to have been a 
product of the later stages of the time of decadence. 
I propose, however, to return to the animals imme- 
diately preceding man and his contemporaries, after 
we have noticed the Tertiary flora and the Glacial 


THE NEOZOIC AGES (continued). 

PLANT-LIFE in the Tertiary approaches very nearly to 
that of the Modern World, in so far as its leading 
types are concerned ; but in its distribution geographi- 
cally it was wonderfully different from that with which 
we are at present familiar. For example, in the Isle 
of Sheppey, at the mouth of the Thames, are beds of 
" London clay/' full of fossil nuts ; and these, instead 
of being hazel nuts and acorns, belong to palms allied 
to species now found in the Philippine Islands and 
Bengal, while with them are numerous cone-like fruits 
belonging to the Proteaceae (banksias, silver-trees, 
wagenbooms, etc.), a group, of trees now confined to 
Australia and South Africa, but which in the Northern 
Hemisphere had already, as stated in a previous paper, 
made their appearance in the Cretaceous, and were 
abundant in the Eocene. The state of preservation 
of these fruits shows that they were not drifted far; 
and in some beds in Hampshire, also of Eocene age, 
the leaves of similar plants occur along with species of 
fig, cinnamon, and other forms equally Australian or 
Indian. In America, especially in the west, there are 
thick and widely-distributed beds of lignite or imper- 
fect coal of the Eocene period ; but the plants found 


in the American Eocene are more like those of the 
European Miocene or the Modern American flora, a 
fact to which we must revert immediately. 

In Europe, while some of the early Eocene plants 
resemble those of Australia, when we ascend toward 
the Miocene they are like those of America, though 
some Australian forms still remain. In the leaf-beds 
of the Isle of Mull, where beds of vegetable mould 
and leaves were covered up with the erupted matter of 
a volcano belonging to a great series of such eruptions 
which produced the basaltic cliffs of Antrim and of 
Staffa, and at Bovey, in Devonshire, where Eocene 
plants have accumulated in many thick beds of lignite, 
the prevailing species are sequoias or red-woods, vines, 
figs, cinnamons, etc. In the sandstones at the base 
of the Alps similar plants and also palms of American 
types occur. In the Upper Miocene beds of (Eningen 
in the Rhine vajley, nearly five hundred species of 
plants have been found, and include such familiar 
forms as the maples, plane-trees, cypress, elm, and 
sweet-gum, more American, however, than European 
in their aspect. It thus appears that the later Eocene 
flora of Europe resembles that of America at pre- 
sent, while the Middle Eocene flora of Europe has 
many Australasian forms, and the Eocene flora of 
America, as well as the modern, resembles the Miocene 
of Europe. In other words, the changes of the flora 
have been more rapid in Europe than in America and 
probably slowest of all in Australia. The Eastern 
Continent has thus taken the lead in rapidity of 


change in the Tertiary period, ar.d it has probably 
done so in animals as well as in plants. 

The following description of the flora of Bovey is 
given, with slight alteration, in the words of Dr. 
Heer, in his memoir on that district. The woods 
that covered the slopes consisted mainly of a huge 
pine-tree (sequoia), whose figure resembled in all 
probability its highly-admired cousin, the giant 
Wellingtonia of California. The leafy trees of most 
frequent occurrence were the cinnamon and an ever- 
green oak like those now seen in Mexico. The ever- 
green figs, the custard apples, and allies of the Cape 
jasmine, were rarer. The trees were festooned with 
vines, beside which the prickly rotang palm twined 
its snake-like form. In the shade of the forest throve 
numerous ferns, one species of which formed trees of 
imposing grandeur, and there were masses of under- 
wood belonging to various species of Nyssa, like the 
tupelos and sour-gums of North America. This is a 
true picture, based on actual facts, of the vegetation 
of England in the early Tertiary. 

But all the other wonders of the Tertiary flora are 
thrown into the shade by the discoveries of plants of 
this age which have recently been made in Greenland, 
a region now bound up in what we poetically call 
eternal ice, but which in the Eocene was a fair and 
verdant land, rejoicing in a mild climate and rich 
vegetation. The beds containing these specimens 
occur in various places in North Greenland; and the 
principal locality, Atane-Kerdluk, is in lat. 70 N., 


and at an elevation of more than a thousand feet above 
the sea. The plants occur abundantly in sandstone 
and clay beds, and the manner in which delicate leaves 
and fruits are preserved shows that they have not been 
far water-borne, a conclusion which is confirmed by 
the occurrence of beds of lignite of considerable thick- 
ness, and which are evidently peaty accumulations 
containing trunks of trees. The collections made 
have enabled Heer to catalogue 137 species, all of 
them of forms proper to temperate, or even warm 
regions, and mostly American in character. As 
many as forty-six of the species already referred to as 
occurring at Bovey Tracey and (Eningen occur also 
in the Greenland beds. Among the plants are many 
species of pines, some of them of large size ; and the 
beeches, oaks, planes, poplars, maples, walnuts, limes, 
magnolias, and vines are apparently as well repre- 
sented as in the warm temperate zone of America at 
the present day. This wonderful flora was not a 
merely local phenomenon, for similar plants are found 
in Spitzbergen in lat. 78 56'. It is to be further 
observed, that while the general characters of these 
ancient Arctic plants imply a large amount of summer 
heat and light, the evergreens equally imply a mild 
winter. Further, though animal remains are not 
found with these plants, it is probable that so rich a 
supply of vegetable food was not unutilised, and that 
we shall some time find that there was an Arctic fauna 
corresponding to the Arctic flora. How such a 
climate could exist in Greenland and Spitzbergen is 


still a mystery. It has, however, been suggested that 
this effect might result from the concurrence of such 
astronomical conditions in connection with the eccen- 
tricity of the earth's orbit as would give the greatest 
amount of warmth in the Northern Hemisphere with 
such distribution of land and water as would give the 
least amount of cold northern land and the most 
favourable arrangement of the warm surface currents 
of the ocean.* 

Before leaving these Miocene plants, I must refer 
to a paragraph which Dr. Heer has thought it neces- 
sary to insert in his memoir on the Greenland flora, 
and which curiously illustrates the feebleness of what 
with some men passes for science. He says : " In 
conclusion, I beg to offer a few remarks on the amount 
of certainty in identification which the determination 
of fossil plants is able to afford us. We know that 
the flowers, fruits, and seeds are more important as 
characteristics than the leaves. There are many 
genera of which the leaves are variable, and conse- 
quently would be likely to lead us astray if wo trusted 
in them alone. However, many characters of the 
form and venation of leaves are well-known to be 
characteristic of certain genera, and can therefore 
afford us characters of great value for their recogni- 
tion." In a similar apologetic style he proceeds 
through several sentences to plead the cause of his 
Greenland leaves. That he should have to do so is 
strange, unless indeed the botany known to those for 

* Croll and Lyell. 


whom he writes is no more than that which a school- 
girl learns in her few lessons in dissecting a buttercup 
or daisy. It is easy for scientific triflers to exhibit 
collections of plants in which species of different 
genera and families are so similar in their leaves that a 
cai'eless observer would mistake one for the other, or 
to get up composite leaves in part of one species and 
in part of another, and yet seeming the same, and in 
this way to underrate the labours of painstaking 
observers like Heer. But it is nevertheless true that 
in any of these leaves, not only are there good charac- 
ters by which they can be recognised, but that a 
single breathing pore, or a single hair, or a few cells, 
or a bit of epidermis not larger than a pin's head, 
should enable any one who understands his business to 
see as great differences as a merely superficial botanist 
would see between the flower of a ranunculus and that 
of a strawberry. Heer himself, and the same applies 
to all other competent students of fossil plants, has 
almost invariably found his determinations from mere 
fragments of leaves confirmed when more character- 
istic parts were afterwards discovered. It is high 
time, in the interests of geology, that botanists should 
learn that constancy and correlation of parts are laws 
in the plant as well as in the animal ; and this they can 
learn only by working more diligently with the micro- 
scope. I would, however, go further than this, and 
maintain that, in regard to some of the most im- 
portant geological conclusions to be derived from 
fossils, even the leaves of plants are vastly more 


valuable than the hard parts of animals. For in- 
stance, the bones of elephants and rhinoceroses found 
in Greenland would not prove a warm climate; 
because the creatures might have been protected from 
cold with hair like that of the musk-sheep, and they 
might have had facilities for annual migrations like 
the bisons. The occurrence of bones of reindeer in 
France does not prove that its climate was like that of 
Lapland ; but only that it was wooded, and that the 
animals could rove at will to the hills and to the coast. 
But, on the other hand, the remains of an evergreen 
oak in Greenland constitute absolute proof of a warm 
and equable climate ; and the occurrence of leaves of 
the dwarf birch in France constitutes a proof of a cool 
climate, worth more than that which can be derived 
from the bones of millions of reindeer and musk-sheep. 
Still further, in all those greater and more difficult 
questions of geology which relate to the emergence 
and submergence of land areas, and to the geographi- 
cal conditions of past geological periods, the evidence 
of plants, especially when rooted in place, is of far 
more value than that of animals, though it has yet 
been very little used. 

This digression prepares the way for the question : 
Was the Miocene period on the whole a better age 
of the world than that in which we live ? In some 
respects it was. Obviously there was in the Northern 
Hemisphere a vast surface of land under a mild and 
equable climate, and clothed with a rich and varied 
vegetation. Had we lived in the Miocene, we might 


have sat under our vine and fig-tree equally in Green- 
land and Spitzbergen and in those more southern 
climes to which this privilege is now restricted. We 
might have enjoyed a great variety of rich and nutri- 
tive fruits, and, if sufficiently muscular, and able to 
cope with the gigantic mammals of the period, we 
might have engaged in either the life of the hunter or 
that of the agriculturist under advantages which we 
do not now possess. On the whole, the Miocene 
presents to us in these respects the perfection of the 
Neozoic time, and its culmination in so far as the 
nobler forms of brute animals and of plants are con- 
cerned. Had men existed in those days, however, 
they should have been, in order to suit the conditions 
surrounding them, a race of giants ; and they would 
probably have felt the want of many of those more 
modern species belonging to the flora and fauna of 
Europe and Western Asia on which man has so much 
depended for his civilization. Some reasons have 
been adduced for the belief that in the Miocene and 
Eocene there were intervals of cold climate ; but the 
evidence of this may be merely local and exceptional, 
and does not interfere with the broad characteristics of 
the age as sketched above. 

The warm climate and rich vegetation of the 
Miocene extended far into the Pliocene, with charac- 
ters very similar to those already stated; but as the 
Pliocene age went on, cold and frost settled down 
upon the Northern Hemisphere, and a remarkable 
change took place in its vegetable productions. For 


example, in the somewhat celebrated " forest bed " of 
Cromer, in Norfolk, which is regarded as Newer 
Pliocene, we have lost all the foreign and warm- 
climate plants of the Miocene, and find the familiar 
Scotch firs and other plants of the Modern British 
flora. The animals, however, retain their former 
types ; for two species of elephant, a hippopotamus, 
and a rhinoceros are found in connection with these 
plants. This is another evidence, in addition to those 
above referred to, that plants are better thermometers 
to indicate geological and climatal change than 
animals. This Pliocene refrigeration appears to have 
gone on increasing into the next or Post-pliocene age, 
and attained its maximum in the Glacial period, when, 
as many geologists think, our continents were, even 
in the temperate latitudes, covered with a sheet of 
ice like that which now clothes Greenland. Then 
occurred a very general subsidence, in which they 
were submerged under the waters of a cold icy sea, 
tenanted by marine animals now belonging to boreal 
and arctic regions. After this last great plunge-bath 
they rose to constitute the dry land of man and his 
contemporaries. Let us close this part of the subject 
with one striking illustration from Heer's memoir on 
Bovey Tracey. At this place, above the great series 
of clays and lignites containing the Tertiary plants 
already described, v is a thick covering of clay, gravel, 
and stones, evidently of much later date. This also 
contains some plants ; but instead of the figs, and 
cinnamons, and evergreen oaks, they are the petty 


dwarf birch of Scandinavia and the Highland hills, 
and three willows, one of them the little Arctic and 
Alpine creeping willow. Thus we have in the south 
of England a transition in the course of the Pliocene 
period, from a climate much milder than that of 
Modern England to one almost Arctic in its character. 
Our next topic for consideration is one of the most 
vexed questions among geologists, the Glacial period 
which immediately preceded the Advent of Man. In 
treating of this it will be safest first to sketch the 
actual appearances which present themselves, and 
then to draw such pictures as we can of the conditions 
which they represent. The most recent and super- 
ficial covering of the earth's crust is usually composed 
of rock material more or less ground up and wea- 
thered. This may, with reference to its geological 
character and origin, be considered as of three kinds. 
It may be merely the rock weathered and decomposed 
to a certain extent in situ ; or it may be alluvial 
matter carried or deposited by existing streams or 
tides, or by the rains ; or, lastly, it may be material 
evidencing the operation of causes not now in action. 
This last constitutes what has been called drift or 
diluvial detritus, and is that with which we have now 
to do. Such drift, then, is very widely distributed on 
our continents in the higher latitudes. In the North- 
ern Hemisphere it extends from the Arctic regions 
to about 50 of north latitude in Europe, and as low 
as 40 in North America; and it occurs south of 
similar parallels in the Southern Hemisphere. Farther 


towards the equator than the latitudes indicated, we 
do not find the proper drift deposits; but merely 
weathered rocks or alluvia, or old sea bottoms raised 
up. This limitation of the drift, at the very outset 
gives it the character of a deposit in some way con- 
nected with the Polar cold. Besides this, the general 
transport of stones and other material in the northern 
regions has been to the south; hence in the Northern 
Hemisphere this deposit may be called the Northern 

If now we take a typical locality of this formation, 
such, for instance, as we may find in Scotland, or 
Scandinavia, or Canada, we shall find it to consist of 
three members, as follows : 

3. Superficial Sands or Gravels. 

2. Stratified Clays. 

1. Till or Boulder Clay. 

This arrangement may locally be more complicated, 
or it may be deficient in one of its members. The 
boulder clay may, for example, be underlaid by 
stratified sand or gravel, or even by peaty deposits ; 
it may be intermixed with layers of clay or sand ; the 
stratified clay or the boulder clay may be absent, or 
may be uncovered by any upper member. Still we 
may take the typical series as above stated, and in- 
quire as to its characters and teaching. 

The lower member, or boulder clay, is a very 
remarkable kind of deposit, consisting of a paste 
which may graduate from tough clay to loose sand, 


and which holds large angular and rounded stones 
or boulders confusedly intermixed ; these stones may 
be either from the rocks found in the immediate 
vicinity of their present position, or at great distances. 
This mass is usually destitute of any lamination or 
subordinate stratification, whence it is often called 
Unstratified Drift, and is of very variable thickness, 
often occurring in very thick beds in valleys, and 
being comparatively thin or absent on intervening 
hills. Further, if we examine the stones contained 
in the boulder clay, we shall find that they are often 
scratched or striated and grooved ; and when we 
remove the clay from the rock surfaces on which 
it rests, we find these in like manner striated, 
grooved and polished. These phenomena, viz., of 
polished and striated rocks and stones, are similar to 
those produced by those great sliding masses of ice, 
the glaciers of Alpine regions, which in a small way 
and in narrow and elevated valleys, act on the rocks 
and stones in this manner, though they cannot form 
deposits precisely analogous to the boulder clay, 
owing to the wasting away of much of the finer 
material by the torrents, and the heaping of the 
coarser detritus in ridges and piles. Further, we 
have in Greenland a continental mass, with all its 
valleys thus filled with slowly-moving ice, and from 
this there drift off immense ice-islands, which con- 
tinue at least the mud-and-stone-depositing process, 
and possibly also the grinding process, over the sea 
bottom. So far all geologists are agreed; but here 


they diverge into two schools. One of these, that 
of the Glacier theorists, holds that the boulder clay 
is the product of land-ice; and this requires the 
supposition that at the time when it was deposited 
the whole of our continents north of 40 or 50 was 
in the condition of Greenland at present. This is, 
however, a hypothesis so inconvenient, not to say 
improbable, that many hesitate to accept it, and 
prefer to believe that in the so-called Glacial period 
the land was submerged, and that icebergs then as 
now drifted from the north in obedience to the 
Arctic currents, and produced the effects observed. 
It would be tedious to go into all the arguments of 
the advocates of glaciers and icebergs, and I shall 
not attempt this, more especially as the only way to 
decide the question is to observe carefully the facts 
in every particular locality, and inquire as to the 
conclusions fairly deducible. With the view of aiding 
such a solution, however, I may state a few general 
principles applicable to the appearances observed. 
We may then suppose that boulder clay may be 
formed in three ways. (1) It may be deposited on 
land, as what is called the bottom moraine of a land 
glacier. (2) It may be deposited in the sea when 
such a glacier ends on the coast. (3) It may be 
deposited by the melting or grounding on muddy 
bottoms of the iceberg masses floated off from the 
end of such a glacier. It is altogether likely, from 
the observations recently made in Greenland, that in 
that country such a deposit is being formed in all 


these ways. In like manner, the ancient boulder 
clay may have been formed in one or more of these 
ways in any given locality where it occurs, though it 
may be difficult in many instances to indicate the 
precise mode. There are, however, certain criteria 
which may be applied to the determination of its 
origin, and I may state a few of these, which are the 
results of my own experience. (I) Where the boulder 
clay contains marine shells, or rounded stones which if 
exposed to the air would have been cracked to pieces, 
decomposed, or oxidized, it must have been formed 
under water. Where the conditions are the reverse of 
these, it may have been formed on land. (2) When 
the striations and transport of materials do not con- 
form to the levels of the country, and take that direc- 
tion, usually N.E. and s.w., which the Arctic current 
would take if the country were submerged, the pro- 
bability is that it ,was deposited in the sea. Where, 
however, the striation and transport take the course of 
existing valleys, more especially in hilly regions, the 
contrary may be inferred. (3) Where most of the 
material, more especially the large stones, has been 
carried to great distances from its original site, 
especially over plains or up slopes, it has probably 
been sea-borne. Where it is mostly local, local ice- 
action may be inferred. Other criteria may be stated, 
but these are sufficient for our present purpose. Their 
application in every special case I do not presume to 
make; but I am convinced that when applied to 
those regions in Eastern America with which I am 


familiar, they necessitate the conclusion that in the 
period of extreme refrigeration, the greater part of 
the land was under water, and such hills and moun- 
tains as remained were little Greenlands, covered with 
ice and sending down glaciers to the sea. In hilly 
and broken regions, therefore, and especially at con- 
siderable elevations, we find indications of glacier 
action; on the great plains, on the contrary, the 
indications are those of marine glaciation and trans- 
port. This last statement, I believe, applies to the 
mountains and plains of Europe and Asia as well as of 

This view requires not only the supposition of great 
refrigeration, but of a great subsidence of the land in 
the temperate latitudes, with large residual islands 
and hills in the Arctic regions. That such subsidence 
actually took place is proved, not only by the frequent 
occurrence of marine shells in the boulder clay itself, 
but also by the occurrence of stratified marine 
clays filled with shells, often of deep-water species, 
immediately over that deposit. Further, the shells, 
and also occasional land plants found in these beds, 
indicate a cold climate and much cold fresh water 
pouring into the sea from melting ice and snow. In 
Canada these marine clays have been traced up to 
elevations of 600 feet, and in Great Britain deposits 
of this kind occur on one of the mountains of Wales 
at the height of 1300 feet above the level of the sea. 
Nor is it to be supposed that this level marks the 
extreme height of the Post-pliocene waters, for drift 


material not explicable by glaciers, and evidences of 
marine erosion, occur at still higher levels, and it is 
natural that on high and exposed points fewer remains 
of f ossiliferous beds should be left than in plains and 

At the present day the coasts of Britain and other 
parts of Western Europe enjoy an exceptionally warm 
temperature, owing to the warm currents of the 
Atlantic being thrown on them, and the warm and 
moist Atlantic air flowing over them, under the influ- 
ence of the prevailing westerly winds. These advan- 
tages are not possessed by the eastern coast of North 
America, nor by some deep channels in the sea, along 
which the cold northern currents flow under the 
warmer water. Hence these last-mentioned localities 
are inhabited by boreal shells much farther south than 
such species extend on the coasts and banks of Great 
Britain. In the Glacial period this exceptional advan- 
tage was lost, and while the American seas, as judged 
by their marine animals, were somewhat colder than 
at present, the British seas were proportionally much 
more cooled down. No doubt, however, there were 
warmer and colder areas, determined by depth and 
prevailing currents, and as these changed their 
position in elevation and subsidence of the land, 
alternations and even mixtures of the inhabitants of 
cold and warm water resulted, which have often been 
very puzzling to geologists. 

I have taken the series of drift deposits seen in 
Britain and in Canada as typical, and the previous 


discussion has had reference to them. But it would 
be unfair not to inform the reader that this succession 
of deposits after all belongs to the margins of our con- 
tinents rather than to their great central areas. This 
is the case at least in North America, where in the 
region of the great lakes the oldest glaciated surfaces 
are overlaid by thick beds of stratified clay, without 
marine fossils, and often without either stones or 
boulders, though these sometimes occur, especially 
toward the north. The clay, however, contains 
drifted fragments of coniferous trees. Above this 
clay are sand and gravel, and the principal deposit 
of travelled stones and boulders rests on these. I 
cannot affirm that a similar succession occurs on the 
great inland plains of Europe and Asia; but I think 
it probable that to some extent it does. The ex- 
planation of this inland drift by the advocates of a 
great continental glacier is as follows : (1) In the 
Pliocene period the continents were higher than 
at present, and many deep valleys, since filled up, 
were cut in them. (2) In the Post-pliocene these 
elevated continents became covered with ice, by the 
movement of which the valleys were deepened and 
the surfaces striated. (3) This ice-period was followed 
by a depression and submergence, in which the clays 
were deposited, filling up old channels, and much 
changing the levels of the land. Lastly, as the land 
rose again from this submergence, sand and gravel 
were deposited, and boulders scattered over the .surface 
by floating ice. 


The advocates of floating ice as distinguished from a 
continental glacier, merely dispense with the latter, 
and affirm that the striation under the clay, as well as 
that connected with the later boulders, is the effect of 
floating bergs. The occurrence of so much drift wood 
in the clay favours their view, as it is more likely 
that there would be islands clothed with trees in the 
sea, than that these should exist immediately after 
the country had been mantled in ice. The want of 
marine shells is a difficulty in either view, but may 
be accounted for by the rapid deposition of the clay 
and the slow spreading of marine animals over a sub- 
merged continent under unfavourable conditions of 

In any case the reader will please observe that 
theorists must account for both the interior and 
marginal forms of these deposits. Let us tabulate the 
facts and the modes of accounting for them. 





* rrt 


i a 


12 PH r* 


^ s 



>, a" 




This table will suffice at least to reduce the great 
glacier controversy to its narrowest limits, when we 
have added the one further consideration that glaciers 
are the parents of icebergs, and that the question is 
not of one or the other exclusively, but of the relative 
predominance of the one or the other in certain given 
times and places. Both theories admit a great Post- 
pliocene subsidence. The abettors of glaciers can 
urge the elevation of the surface, the supposed 
powers of glaciers as eroding agents, and the trans- 
port of boulders. Those whose theoretical views lean 
to floating ice, believe that they can equally account 
for these phenomena, and can urge in support of their 
theory the occurrence of drift wood in the inland cLiy 
and boulder clay, and of sea-shells in the marginal 
clay and boulder clay, and the atmospheric decomposi- 
tion of rock in the Pliocene period, as a source of the 
material of the clays, while to similar causes they can 
attribute the erosion of the deep valleys piled with 
the Post-pliocene deposits. They can also maintain 
that the general direction of striation and drift im- 
plies the action of sea currents, while they appeal to 
local glaciers to account for special cases of glaciated 
rocks at the higher levels. 

How long our continental plateaus remained under 
the icy seas of the Glacial period we do not know. 
Relatively to human chronology, it was no doubt a 
long time ; but short in comparison with those older 
subsidences in which the great Palaeozoic limestones 
were produced. At length, however, the change 


came. Slowly and gradually, or by intermittent lifts, 
the land rose ; and as it did so, shallow- water sands 
and gravels were deposited on the surface of the deep- 
sea clays, and the sides of the hills were cut into 
inland cliffs and terraces, marking the stages of reces- 
sion of the waters. At length, when the process was 
complete, our present continents stood forth in their 
existing proportions ready for the occupancy of man. 

The picture which these changes present to the 
imagination is one of the most extraordinary in all 
geological history. We have been familiar with the 
idea of worlds drowned in water, and the primeval 
incandescent earth shows us the possibility of our 
globe being melted with fervent heat; but here we 
have a world apparently frozen out destroyed by 
cold, or doubly destroyed by ice and water. Let us 
endeavour to realise this revolution, as it may have 
occurred in any of the temperate regions of the 
Northern Hemisphere, thickly peopled with the 
magnificent animals that had come down from the 
grand old Miocene time. Gradually the warm and 
equable temperature gives place to cold winters and 
chilly wet summers. The more tender animals die 
out, and the less hardy plants begin to be winter- 
killed, or to fail to perfect their fruits. As the forests 
are thus decimated, other and hardier species replace 
those which disappear. The animals which have had 
to confine themselves to sheltered spots, or which 
have perished through cold or want of food, are re- 
placed by others migrating from the mountains, or 


from colder regions. Some, perhaps, in the course 
of generations, become dwarfed in stature, and 
covered with more shaggy fur. Permanent snow at 
length appears upon the hill-tops, and glaciers plough 
their way downward, devastating the forests, en- 
croaching on the fertile plains, and at length reaching 
the heads of the bays and fiords. While snow and 
ice are thus encroaching from above, the land is 
subsiding, and the sea is advancing upon it, while 
great icebergs drifting on the coasts still further 
reduce the temperature. Torrents and avalanches 
from the hills carry mud and gravel over the plains. 
Peat bogs accumulate in the hollows. Glaciers heap 
up confused masses of moraine, and the advancing 
sea piles up stones and shingle to be imbedded in mud 
on its further advance, while boreal marine animals 
invade the now submerged plains. At length the ice 
and water meet everywhere, or leave only a few green 
strips where hardy Arctic plants still survive, and a 
few well-clad animals manage to protract their exist- 
ence. Perhaps even these are overwhelmed, and the 
curtain of the Glacial winter falls over the fair scenery 
of the Pliocene. In every locality thus invaded by an 
apparently perpetual winter, some species of land 
animals must have perished. Others may have mi- 
grated to more genial climes, others under depaupe- 
rated and hardy varietal forms may have continued 
successfully to struggle for existence. The general 
result must have been greatly to diminish the nobler 
forms of life, and to encourage only those fitted 


for the most rigorous climates and least productive 

Could we have visited the world in this dreary 
period, and have witnessed the decadence and death 
of that brilliant and magnificent flora and fauna 
which we have traced upward from the Eocene, we 
might well have despaired of the earth's destinies, and 
have fancied it the sport of some malignant demon ; 
or have supposed that in the contest between the 
powers of destruction and those of renovation the 
former had finally gained the victory. We must 
observe, however, that the suffering in such a process 
is less than we might suppose. So long as animals 
could exist, they would continue to enjoy life. The 
conditions unfavourable to them would be equally or 
more so to their natural enemies. Only the last 
survivors would meet with what might be regarded 
as a tragical end. As one description of animal 
became extinct, another was prepared to occupy its 
room. If elephants and rhinoceroses perished from 
the land, countless herds of walruses and seals took 
their places. If gay insects died and disappeared, 
shell-fishes and sea-stars were their successors. 

Thus in nature there is life even in death, and 
constant enjoyment even when old systems are passing 
away. But could we have survived the Glacial period, 
we should have seen a reason for its apparently 
wholesale destruction. Out of that chaos came at 
length an Eden; and just as the Permian prepared 
the way for the Mesozoic, so the glaciers and icebergs 


of the Post-pliocene were the ploughshare of God 
preparing the earth for the time when, with a flora 
and fauna more beautiful and useful, if less magni- 
ficent than that of the Tertiary, it became as the 
garden of the Lord, fitted for the reception of His 
image and likeness, immortal and intelligent Man. 
We need not, however, with one modern school of 
philosophy, regard man himself as but a descendant 
of Miocene apes, scourged into reason and humanity 
by the struggle for existence in the Glacial period. 
We may be content to consider him as a son of God, 
and to study in the succeeding chapters that renewal 
of the Post-pliocene world which preceded and 
heralded his advent. 

In the meantime, our illustration,* borrowed in part 
from the magnificent representation of the Post- 
pliocene fauna of England, by the great restorer of 
extinct animals, Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, may serve 
to give some idea of the grand and massive forms of 
animal life which, even in the higher latitudes, sur- 
vived the Post-pliocene cold, and only decayed and 
disappeared under that amelioration of physical con- 
ditions which marks the introduction of the humau 

Page 301. 



IN closing these sketches it may seem unsatisfactory 
not to link the geological ages with the modern 
period in which we live; yet, perhaps, nothing is 
more complicated or encompassed with greater diffi- 
culties or uncertainties. The geologist, emerging 
from the study of the older monuments of the earth's 
history, and working with the methods of physical 
science, here meets face to face the archseologist and 
historian, who have been tracing back in the opposite 
direction, and with very different appliances, the 
stream of human history and tradition. In such 
circumstances conflicts may occur, or at least the two 
paths of inquiry may refuse to connect themselves 
without concessions unpleasant to the pursuers of one 
or both. Further, it is just at this meeting-place that 
the dim candle of traditional lore is almost burnt out 
in the hand of the antiquary, and that the geologist 
finds his monumental evidence becoming more scanty 
and less distinct. We cannot hope as yet to dispel all 
the shadows that haunt this obscure domain, but can 
at least point out some of the paths which traverse it. 
In attempting this, we may first classify the time 
involved as follows : (1) The earlier Post-pliocene 


period of geology may be called the Glacial era. It is 
that of a cold climate, accompanied by glaciation and 
boulder deposits. (2) The later Post-pliocene may be 
called the Post-glacial era. It is that of re-elevation of 
the continents and restoration of a mild tempera- 
ture. It connects itself with the pre-historic period 
of the archaeologist, inasmuch as remains of man and 
his works are apparently included in the same deposits 
which hold the bones of Post-glacial animals. (3) The 
Modern era is that of secular human history. 

It may be stated with certainty that the Pliocene 
period of geology affords no trace of human remains 
or implements ; and the same may I think be 
affirmed of the period of glaciation and subsidence 
which constitutes the earlier Post-pliocene. With 
the rise of the land out of the Glacial sea indica- 
tions of man are believed to appear, along with 
remains of several mammalian species now his con- 
temporaries. Archaeology and geology thus meet 
somewhere in the pre-historic period of the former, 
and in the Post-glacial of the latter. Wherever, 
therefore, human history extends farthest back, and 
geological formations of the most modern periods 
exist and have been explored, we may expect best to 
define their junctions. Unfortunately it happens 
that our information on these points is still very 
incomplete and locally limited. In many extensive 
regions, like America and Australia, while the geo- 
logical record is somewhat complete, the historic 
record extends back at most a few centuries, and the 


pre-historic monuments are of uncertain date. In 
other countries, as in Western Asia and Egypt, 
where the historic record extends very far back, the 
geology is less perfectly known. At the present 
moment, therefore, the main battle-field of these 
controversies is in Western Europe, where, though 
history scarce extends farther back than the time of 
the Roman Republic, the geologic record is very 
complete, and has been explored with some thorough- 
ness. It is obvious, however, that we thus have to 
face the question at a point where the pre-historic 
gap is necessarily very wide. 

Taking England as an example, all before the 
Roman invasion is pre-historic, and with regard to 
this pre-historic period the evidence that we can 
obtain is chiefly of a geological character. The pre- 
historic men are essentially fossils. We know of 
them merely what can be learned from their bones 
and implements embedded in the soil or in the 
earth of the caverns in which some of them shel- 
tered themselves. For the origin and date of these 
deposits the antiquary must go to the geologist, 
and he imitates the geologist in arranging his 
human fossils under such names as the "Palaeo- 
lithic/* or period of rude stone implements ; the 
" Neolithic," or period of polished stone implements; 
the Bronze Period, and the Iron Period; though 
inasmuch as higher and lower states of the arts 
seem always to have coexisted, and the time in- 
volved is comparatively short, these periods are of 


far less value than those of geology. In Britain 
the age of iron is in the main historic. That of 
bronze goes back to the times of early Phoenician 
trade with the south of England. That of stone, 
while locally extending far into the succeeding ages, 
reaches back into an unknown antiquity, and is, as 
we shall see in the sequel, probably divided into 
two by a great physical change, though not in the 
abrupt and arbitrary way sometimes assumed by 
those who base their classification solely on the 
rude or polished character of stone implements. 
We must not forget, however, that in Western 
Asia the ages of bronze and iron may have begun 
two thousand years at least earlier than in Britain, 
and that in some parts of America the Palaeolithic 
age of chipped stone implements still continues. 
We must also bear in mind that when the archas- 
logist appeals ,to the geologist for aid, he thereby 
leaves that kind of investigation in which dates are 
settled by years, for that in which they are 
marked merely by successive physical and organic 

Turning, then, to our familiar geological methods, 
and confining ourselves mainly to the Northern 
Hemisphere and to Western Europe, two pictures 
present themselves to us : (1 ) The physical changes 
preceding the advent of man ; (2) The decadence of 
the land animals of the Post-pliocene age, and the 
appearance of those of the modern. 

In the last chapter I had to introduce the reader 


to a great and terrible revolution, whereby the old 
Pliocene continents, with all their wealth of animals 
and plants, became sealed up in a mantle of Green- 
land ice, or, slowly sinking beneath the level of 
the sea, were transformed into an ocean-bottom 
over which icebergs bore their freight of clay and 
boulders. We also saw that as the Post-pliocene 
age advanced, the latter condition prevailed, until 
the waters stood more than a thousand feet deep 
over the plains of Europe. In this great glacial 
submergence, which closed the earlier Post-pliocene 
period, and over vast areas of the Northern Hemi- 
sphere, terminated the existence of many of the 
noblest forms of life, it is believed that man had 
no share. We have, at least as yet, no record of 
his presence. 

Out of these waters the land again rose slowly 
and intermittently, so that the receding waves 
worked even out of hard rocks ranges of coast 
cliff which the further elevation converted into 
inland terraces, and that the clay and stones de- 
posited by the Glacial waters were in many places 
worked over and rearranged by the tides and waves 
of the shallowing sea before they were permanently 
raised up to undergo the action of the rains and 
streams, while long banks of sand and gravel were 
stretched across plains and the mouths of valleys, 
constituting " kames," or " eskers," only to be 
distinguished from moraines of glaciers by the stra- 
tified arrangement of their materials. 


Further, as the land rose, its surface was greatly 
and rapidly modified by rains and streams. There 
is the amplest evidence, both in Europe and America, 
that at this time the erosion by these means was 
enormous in comparison with anything we now ex- 
uerience. The rainfall must have been excessive, 
the volume of water in the streams very great; and 
the facilities for cutting channels in the old Pliocene 
valleys, filled to the brim with mud and boulder-clay, 
were unprecedented. While the area of the land 
was still limited, much of it would be high and 
broken, and it would have all the dampness of an 
insular climate. As it rose in height, plains which 
had, while under the sea, been loaded with the 
debris swept from the land, would be raised up to 
experience river erosion. It was the spring-time of 
the Glacial era, a spring eminent for its melting 
snows, its rains, and its river floods.* To an ob- 
server living at this time it would have seemed as 
if the slow process of moulding the continents was 
being pushed forward with unexampled rapidity. 
The valleys were ploughed out and cleansed, the 
plains levelled and overspread with beds of alluvium, 
giving new features of beauty and udility to the land, 
and preparing the way for the life of the Modern 
period, as if to make up for the time which had 
been lost in the dreary Glacial age. It will readily 
be understood how puzzling these deposits have 

* Mr. Tyler has well designated this period as the Pluvia.1 
age. Journal of the Geological Society, 1870. 


been to geologists, especially to those who fail to 
present to their minds the true" conditions of the 
period; and how difficult it is to separate the river 
alluvia of this age from the deposits in the seas 
and estuaries, and these again from the older Glacial 
beds. Further, in not a few instances the animals 
of a cold climate must have lived in close prox- 
imity to those which belonged to ameliorated con- 
ditions, and the fossils of the older Post-pliocene 
must often, in the process of sorting by water, 
have been mixed with those of the newer. 

Many years ago the brilliant and penetrating in- 
tellect of Edward Forbes was directed to the question 
of the maximum extent of the later Post-pliocene or 
Post-glacial land; and his investigations into the 
distribution of the European flora, in connection with 
the phenomena of submerged terrestrial surfaces, led 
to the belief that the land had risen until it was both 
higher and more extensive than at present. At the 
time of greatest elevation, England was joined to the 
continent of Europe by a level plain, and a similar 
plain connected Ireland with its sister islands. Over 
these plains the plants constituting the " Germanic " 
flora spread themselves into the area of the British 
Islands, and herds of mammoth, rhinoceros, and Irish 
elk wandered and extended their range from east to 
west. The deductions of Forbes have been confirmed 
and extended by others; and it can scarcely be 
doubted that in the Post-glacial era, the land re- 
gained fully the extent which it had possessed in the 


time of the Pliocene. In these circumstances the 
loftier hills might still reach the limit of perpetual 
snow, but their glaciers would no longer descend to 
the sea. What are now the beds of shallow sea 
would be vast wooded plains, drained by magnificent 
rivers, whose main courses are now submerged, and 
only their branches remain as separate and distinct 
streams. The cold but equable climate of the Post- 
pliocene would now be exchanged for warm summers, 
alternating with sharp winters, whose severity would 
be mitigated by the dense forest covering, which 
would also contribute to the due supply of moisture, 
preventing the surface from being burnt into arid 

It seems not improbable that it was when the 
continents had attained to their greatest extension, 
and when animal and vegetable life had again over- 
spread the new land to its utmost limits, that man 
was introduced on the eastern continent, and with 
him several mammalian species, not known in the 
Pliocene period, and some of which, as the sheep, 
the goat, the ox, and the dog, have ever since been 
his companions and humble allies. These, at least 
in the west of Europe, were the " Palaeolithic " men, 
the makers of the oldest flint implements ; and armed 
with these, they haJ. to assert the mastery of man 
over broader lands than we now possess, and over 
many species of great animals now extinct. In thus 
writing, I assume the accuracy of the inferences from 
the occurrence of worked stones with the bones of 



Post-glacial animals, which must have lived during 
the condition of our continents above referred to. If 
these inferences are well founded, not only did man 
exist at this time, but man not even varietally distinct 
from modern European races. But if man really 
appeared in Europe in the Post-glacial era, he was 
destined to be exposed to one great natural vicissi- 
tude before his permanent establishment in the world. 
The land had reached its maximum elevation, but its 
foundations, " standing in the water and out of the 
water," were not yet securely settled, and it had to 
take one more plunge-bath before attaining its 
modern fixity. This seems to have been a com- 
paratively rapid subsidence and re-elevation, leaving 
but slender traces of its occurrence, but changing to 
some extent the levels of the continents, and failing 
to restore them fully to their former elevation, so that 
large areas of the lower grounds still remained under 
the sea. If, as the greater number of geologists now 
believe, man was then on the earth, it is not im- 
possible that this constituted the deluge recorded in 
that remarkable " log book " of Noah preserved to us 
in Genesis, and of which the memory remains in the 
traditions of most ancient nations. This is at least 
the geological deluge which separates the Post-glacial 
period from the Modern, and the earlier from the 
later pre-historic period of the archasologists.* 

* I have long thought that the narrative in Gen. vii. and 
viii. can be understood only on the supposition that it is a 
contemporary journal or log of an eye-witness incorporated by 


Very important questions of time are involved in 
this idea of Post-glacial man, and much will depend, 
in the solution of these, on the views which we adopt 
as to the rate of subsidence and elevation of the land. 
If, with the majority of British geologists, we hold 
that it is to be measured by those slow movements 
now in progress, the time required will be long. If, 
with most Continental and some American geologists, 
we believe in paroxysmal movements of elevation and 
depression, it may be much reduced. We have seen 
in the progress of oar inquiries that the movements 
of the continents seem to have occurred with acceler- 
ated rapidity in the more modern periods. We have 
also seen that these movements might depend on the 
slow contraction of the earth's crust due to cooling, 
but that the effects of this contraction might manifest 
themselves only at intervals. We have further seen 
that the gradual retardation of the rotation of the 
earth furnishes a cause capable of producing eleva- 
tion and subsidence of the land, and that this also 
might be manifested at lon'ger or shorter intervals,, 
according to the strength and resisting power of the 
crust. Under the influence of this retardation, so 
long as the crust of the earth did not give way, the 
waters would be driven toward the poles, and the 

the author of Genesis in his work. The dates of the rising anf^ 
fall of the water, the note of soundings over the hill-tops whei 
the maximum was attained, and many other details, as well as 
the whole tone of the narrative, seem to require this supposi- 
tion, which also removes all the difficulties of interpretation 
which have been so much felt. 


northern land would be submerged; but so soon as 
the tension became so great as to rupture the solid 
shell, the equatorial regions would collapse, and the 
northern land would again be raised. The subsidence 
would be gradual, the elevation paroxysmal, and 
perhaps intermittent. Let us suppose that this was 
what occurred in the Glacial period, and that the 
land had attained to its maximum elevation. This 
might not prove to be permanent; the new balance 
of the crust might be liable to local or general 
disturbance in a minor degree, leading to subsidence 
and partial re-elevation, following the great Post- 
glacial elevation. There is, therefore, nothing un- 
reasonable in that view which makes the subsidence 
and re-elevation at the close of the Post-glacial 
period somewhat abrupt, at least when compared 
with some more ancient movements. 

But what is the evidence of the deposits formed at 
this period ? Here we meet with results most diverse 
and contradictory, but I think there can be little 
doubt that on this kind of evidence the time required 
for the Post-glacial period has been greatly exagger- 
ated, especially by those geologists who refuse to 
receive such views as to subsidence and elevation as 
those above stated. The calculations of long time 
based on the gravels of the Somme, on the cone of 
the Tiniere, on the peat bogs of France and Denmark, 
on certain cavern deposits, have all been shown to be 
more or less at fault ; and possibly none of these 
reach further back than the six or seven thousand 


years which, according to Dr. Andrews, have elapsed 
since the close of the boulder-clay deposits in 
America.* I am aware that such a statement will 
be regarded with surprise by many in England, 
where even the popular literature has been penetrated 
with the idea of a duration of the human period 
immensely long in comparison with what used to be 
the popular belief; but I feel convinced that the 
scientific pendulum must swing backward in this 
direction nearer to its old position. Let us look at a 
few of the facts. Much use has been made of the 
" cone " or delta of the Tiniere on the eastern side of 
the Lake of Geneva, as an illustration of the duration 
of the Modern period. This little stream has de- 
posited at its mouth a mass of debris carried down 
from the hills. This being cut through by a railway, 
is found to contain Roman remains to a depth of four 
feet, bronze implements to a depth of ten feet, stone 
implements at a depth of nineteen feet. The deposit 
ceased about three hundred years ago, and calculating 
1300 to 1500 years for the Roman period, we should 
have 70UO to 10,000 years as the age of the cone. 
But before the formation of the present cone, another 
had been formed twelve times as large. Thus for the 
two cones together, a duration of more than 90,000 
years is claimed. It appears, however, that this cal- 
culation has been made irrespective of two essential 
elements in the question. No allowance has been 
made for the fact that the inner layers of a cone are 
* " Transactions, Chicago Academy," 1871. 


necessarily smaller than the outer ; nor for the further 
fact that the older cone belongs to a distinct time 
(the pluvial age already referred to), when the rainfall 
was much larger, and the transporting power of the 
torrent great in proportion. Making allowance for 
these conditions, the age of the newer cone, that 
holding human remains, falls between 4000 and 5000 
years. The peat bed of Abbeville, in the north of 
France, has grown at the rate of one and a half to 
two inches in a century. Being twenty-six feet in 
thickness, the time occupied in its growth must have 
amounted to 20,000 years ; and yet it is probably 
newer than some of the gravels on the same river 
containing flint implements. But the composition of 
the Abbeville peat shows that it is a forest peat, and 
the erect stems preserved in it prove that in the first 
instance it must have grown at the rate of about three 
feet in a century, and after the destruction of the 
forest its rate of increase down to the present time 
diminished rapidly almost to nothing. Its age is 
thus reduced to perhaps less than 4000 years. In 
1865 I had an opportunity to examine the now 
celebrated gravels of St. Acheul, on the Somme, by 
some supposed to go back to a very ancient period. 
With the papers of Prestwich and other able obser- 
vers in my hand, I could conclude merely that the 
undisturbed gravels were older than the Roman 
period, but how much older only detailed topographical 
surveys could prove; and that taking into account 
the probabilities of a different level of the land, a 


wooded condition of the country, a greater rainfall, 
and a glacial filling of the Somme valley with clay 
and stones subsequently cut out by running water 
the gravels could scarcely be older than the Abbeville 
peat. To have published such views in England 
would have been simply to have delivered myself 
into the hands of the Philistines. I therefore con- 
tented myself with recording my opinion in Canada. 
Tylor * and Andrews f have, however, I think, 
subsequently shown that my impressions were correct. 
In like manner, I fail to perceive, and I think all 
American geologists acquainted with the pre-historic 
monuments of the western continent must agree with 
me, any evidence of great antiquity in the caves of 
Belgium and England, the kitchen-middens of Den- 
mark, the rock-shelters of France, the lake habita- 
tions of Switzerland. At the same time, I would 
disclaim all attempt to resolve their dates into precise 
terms of years. I may merely add, that the elaborate 
and careful observations of Dr. Andrews on the raised 
beaches of Lake Michigan, observations of a much 
more precise character than any which, in so far as I 
know, have been made of such deposits in Europe, 
enable him to calculate the time which has elapsed 
since North America rose out of the waters of the 
Glacial period as between 5500 and 7500 years. 
This fixes at least the possible duration of the human 
period in North America, though I believe there are 

* "Journal of Geological Society," vol. xxv. 
f " Silliman's Journal," 1868. 


other lines of evidence which would reduce the resi- 
dence of man in America to a much shorter time. 
Longer periods have, it is true, been deduced from 
the delta of the Mississippi and the gorge of Niagara ; 
but the deposits of the former have been found by 
Hilgard to be in great part marine, and the exca- 
vation of the latter began at a period probably long 
anterior to the advent of man. 

But another question remains. From the simi- 
larities existing in the animals and plants of regions 
in the southern hemisphere now widely separated by 
the ocean, it has been inferred that Post-pliocene 
Lmd of great extent existed there ; and that on this 
land men may have lived before the continents of 
the northern hemisphere were ready for them. It 
has even been supposed that, inasmuch as the flora 
and fauna of Australia have an aspect like that of the 
Eocene Tertiary, and very low forms of man exist 
in that part of the world, these low races are the 
oldest of all, and may date from Tertiary times. 
Positive evidence of this, however, there is none. 
These races have no monuments ; nor, so far as 
known, have they left their remains in Post-pliocene 
deposits. It depends on the assumptions that the 
ruder races of men are the oldest; and that man 
has no greater migratory powers than other animals. 
The first is probably false, as being contrary to 
history; and also to the testimony of palaeontology 
with reference to the laws of creation. The second 
is certainly false ; for we know that man has managed 


to associate himself with every existing fauna and 
flora, even in modern times; and that the most 
modern races have pitched their tents amid tree- 
ferns and Proteacege, and have hunted kangaroos 
and emus. Further, when we consider that the pro- 
ductions of the southern hemisphere are not only 
more antique than those of the northern, but, on the 
whole, less suited for the comfortable subsistence of 
man and the animals most useful to him ; and that 
the Post-pliocene animals of the southern hemisphere 
were of similar types with their modern successors, 
we are the less inclined to believe that these regions 
would be selected as the cradle of the human race. 

NOTE. Professor Boyd Dawkina in his work, "Early Man 
in Britain," has thrown much light on the relations of the 
Neocosmic men and the Bronze age with the Basques and 
Etruscans (see Appendix). The more recent discoveries, both 
in Europe and America, tend more and more to limit the 
absolute antiquity of man, and to place his appearance in the 
Post-glacial age. The recent measurements of the topogra- 
phical survey of New York have shown that the recession of 
the Falls of Niagara is so much more rapid than has hitherto 
been supposed that the time since the glacial submergence at 
that place cannot exceed 10,000 years and was probably nmch 

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pog pay 

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-laaBo pa s^s^aq snojoAiqjaq q^aoj 
Sauq pa^[ aq^ ;9[ PIBS pOQ pay 

paB snuadsoiSny jo sa2y 

pnB S9qstj 
v jo satoads 

oiozoxivo HO oiozoax 




TURNING from these difficult questions of time, we 
may now look at the assemblage of land-animals 
presented by the Post-glacial period. Here, for the 
first time in the great series of continental eleva- 
tions and depressions, we find the newly-emerging 
land peopled with familiar forms. Nearly all the 
modern European animals have left their bones in 
the clays, gravels, and cavern deposits which belong 
to this period; but with them are others either not 
now found within the limits of temperate Europe, 
or altogether extinct. Thus the remarkable fact 
comes out, that the uprising land was peopled at 
first with a more abundant fauna than that which 
it now sustains, and that many species, and among 
these some of the largest and most powerful, have 
been weeded out, either before the advent of man 
or in the changes which immediately succeeded that 
event. That in the Post-glacial period so many 
noble animal species should have been overthrown 
in the struggle for existence, without leaving any 
successors, at least in Europe, is one of the most 
remarkable phenomena in the history of life on our 


According to Pictet,* the Post-glacial bads of 
Europe afford ninety-eight species of mammals, of 
which fifty-seven still live there, the remainder being 
either locally or wholly extinct. According to Mr. 
Boyd Dawkins,f in Great Britain about twelve Plio- 
cene species survived the Glacial period, and re- 
appeared in the British Islands in the Post-glacial. 
To these were added forty-one species making in 
all fifty-three, whose remains are found in the gravels 
and caves of the latter period. Of these, in the 
Modern period twenty-eight, or rather more than 
one-half, survive, fourteen are wholly extinct, and 
eleven are locally extinct. 

Among the extinct beasts, were some of very 
remarkable character. There were two or more spe- 
cies of elephant, which seem in this age to have 
overspread, in vast herds, all the plains of Northern 
Europe and Asia; and one of which we know, from 
the perfect specimen found embedded in the frozen 
soil of Siberia, lived till a very modern period; and 
was clothed with long hair and fur, fitting it for a 
cold climate. There were also three or four species 
of rhinoceros, one of which at least (the R. Ticho- 
rhinus] was clad with wool like the great Siberian 
mammoth. With these was a huge hippopotamus 
(H. major), whose head- quarters would, however, 
seem to have been farther south than England, or 

* Palaeontologie. 

f " Journal of Geological Society," and Palaeontographical 
Society's publications. 


which perhaps inhabited chiefly the swamps along 
the large rivers running through areas now under 
the sea. The occurrence of such an animal shows 
an abundant vegetation, and a climate so mild, that 
the rivers were not covered with heavy ice in winter ; 
for the supposition that this old hippopotamus was 
a migratory animal seems very unlikely. Another 
animal of this time, was the magnificent deer, known 
as the Irish elk; and which perhaps had its prin- 
cipal abode on the great plain which is now the Irish 
Sea. The terrible machairodus, or cymetar-toothed 
tiger, was continued from the Pliocene ; and in addition 
to species of bear still living, there was a species of 
gigantic size, probably now extinct, the cave bear. 
Evidences are accumulating, to show that all or nearly 
all these survived until the human period. 

If we turn now to those animals which are only 
locally extinct, we meet with some strange, and at 
first sight puzzling anomalies. Some of these are 
creatures now limited to climates much colder than 
that of Britain. Others now belong to warmer cli- 
mates. Conspicuous among the former are the musk- 
sheep, the elk, the reindeer, the glutton, and the 
lemming. Among the latter, we see the panther, 
the lion, and the Cape hyena. That animals now so 
widely separated as the musk-sheep of Arctic America 
and the hyena of South Africa, could ever have in- 
habited the same forests, seems a dream of the wildest 
fancy. Yet it is not difficult to find a probable solu- 
tion of the mystery. In North America, at the pre- 


sent day, the puma, or American lion, comes up to 
the same latitudes with the caribou, or reindeer, and 
moose; and in Asia, the tiger extends its migrations 
into the abodes of boreal animals in the plains of 
Siberia. Even in Europe, within the historic period, 
the reindeer inhabited the forests of Germany; and 
the lion extended its range nearly as far northward. 
The explanation lies in the co-existence of a densely 
wooded country with a temperate climate ; the forests 
affording to southern animals shelter from the cold of 
winter; and equally to the northern animals protec- 
tion from the heat of summer. Hence our wonder 
at this association of animals of diverse habitudes as 
to climate, is merely a prejudice arising from the 
present exceptional condition of Europe. Still it is 
possible that changes unfavourable to some of these 
animals, were in progress before the arrival of man, 
with his clearings and forest fires and other dis- 
turbing agencies. Even in America, the megalonyx, 
or gigantic sloth, the mammoth, the mastodon, the fossil 
horse, and many other creatures, disappeared before 
the Modern period ; and on both continents the great 
Post-glacial subsidence or deluge may have swept 
away some of the species. Such a supposition seems 
necessary to account for the phenomena of the gravel 
and cave deposits of England, and Cope has recently 
suggested it in explanation of similar storehouses of 
fossil animals in America.* 

* Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, April, 


Among' the many pictures which this fertile subject 
calls up, perhaps none is more curious than that pre- 
sented by the Post-glacial cavern deposits. We may 
close our survey of this period with the exploration 
of one of these strange repositories; and may select 
Kent's Hole at Torquay, so carefully excavated and 
illumined with the magnesium light of scientific in- 
quiry by Mr. Pengelly and a committee of the British 

The somewhat extensive and ramifying cavern of 
Kent's Hole is an irregular excavation, evidently 
due partly to fissures in limestone rock, and partly to 
the erosive action of water enlarging such fissures 
into chambers and galleries. At what time it was 
originally cut we do not know, but it must have 
existed as a cavern at the close of the Pliocene or 
beginning of the Post-pliocene period, since which 
time it has been receiving a series of deposits which 
have quite filled up some of its smaller branches. 

First and lowest, according to Mr. Pengelly, is a 
"breccia," or mass of broken and rounded stones, 
with hardened red clay filling the interstices. Most of 
the stones are of the rock which forms the roof and 
walls of the cave, but many, especially the rounded 
ones, are from more distant parts of the surrounding 
country. In this mass, the depth of which is un- 
known, are numerous bones, all of one kind of animal, 
the cave bear, a creature which seems to have lived in 
Western Europe from the close of the Pliocene down 
to the modern period. It must have been one of the 


earliest and most permanent tenants of Kent's Hole 
at a time when its lower chambers were still filled with 
water. Next above the breccia is a floor of " stalag- 
mite/' or stony carbonate of lime, deposited from the 
drippings of the roof, and in some places three feet 
thick. This also contains bones of the cave bear, 
deposited when there was less access of water to the 
cavern. Mr. Pengelly infers the existence of man at 
this time from a few flint flakes, and a few flint chips 
found in these beds ; but mere flakes and chips of 
flint are too often natural to warrant such a conclusion. 
After the old stalagmite floor above mentioned was 
formed, the cave again received deposits of muddy 
water and stones; but now a change occurs in the 
remains embedded. This stony clay, or " cave earth/' 
has yielded an immense quantity of teeth and bones, in- 
cluding those of the elephant, rhinoceros, horse, hyena, 
cave bear, reindeer, and Irish elk. With these were 
found weapons of chipped flint, and harpoons, needles, 
and bodkins of bone, very similar to those of the 
North American Indians and other rude races. The 
" cave earth " is four feet or more in thickness. It is 
not stratified, and contains many fallen fragments of 
rock, rounded stones, and broken pieces of stalagmite. 
It also has patches of the excrement of hyenas, which 
the explorers suppose to indicate the temporary resi- 
dence of these animals ; and in one spot, near the top, is 
a limited layer of burnt wood, with remains which in- 
dicate the cooking and eating of repasts of animal food 
by man. It is clear that when this bed was formed 



the cavern was liable to be inundated with muddy 
water, carrying stones and other heavy objects, and 
breaking up in places the old stalagmite floor. One of 
the most puzzling features, especially to those who 
take an exclusively uniformitarian view, is, that thb 
entrance of water-borne mud and stones implies a 
level of the bottom of the water in the neighbouring 
valleys of about 100 feet above its present height. 
The cave earth is covered by a second crust of stalag- 
mite, less dense and thick than that below, and con- 
taining only a few bones, which are of the same 
general character with those below, but include a frag- 
ment of a human jaw with teeth. Evidently, when this 
stalagmite was formed, the influx of water-borne 
materials had ceased, or nearly so ; but whether the 
animals previously occupying the country still con- 
tinued in it, or only accidental bones, etc., were 
introduced into the cave or lifted from the bed below, 
does not appear. 

The next bed marks a new change. It is a layer 
of black mould from three to ten inches thick. Its 
microscopic structure does not seem to have been 
examined ; but it is probably a forest soil, introduced 
by growth, by water, by wind, and by ingress of 
animals, at a time when the cave was nearly in its 
present state, and the surrounding country densely 
wooded. This bed contains bones of animals, all of 
them modern, and works of art ranging from the old 
British times before the Roman invasion up to the 
porter-bottles and dropped halfpence of modern visi- 


tors. Lastly, in and upon the black mould are many 
fallen blocks from the roof of the cave. 

There can be no doubt that this cave and the neigh- 
bouring one of Brixham have done very much to 
impress the minds of British geologists with ideas of 
the great antiquity of man, and they have, more than 
any other Post-glacial monuments, shown the persis- 
tence of some animals now extinct up to the human 
age. Of precise data for determining time, they have, 
however, given nothing. The only measures which 
seem to have been applied, namely, the rate of 
growth of stalagmite and the rate of erosion of the 
neighbouring valleys, are, from the very sequence 
of the deposits, evidently uncertain; and there seems 
to be no available and constant measure derivable from 
other facts, and capable of being accurately applied. 
We are therefore quite uncertain as to the number 
of centuries involved in the filling of this cave, and 
must remain so until a surer system of calculation is 
adopted. We may, however, attempt to sketch the 
series of events which it indicates. 

The animals found in Kent's Hole are all " Post- 
glacial." They therefore inhabited the country after 
it rose from the great Glacial submergence. Perhaps 
the first colonists of the coasts of Devonshire in this 
period were the cave bears, migrating on floating ice, 
and subsisting, like the Arctic bear, and the black 
bears of Anticosti, on fish, and on the garbage cast 
up by the sea. They found Kent's Hole a sea-side 
cavern, with perhaps some of its galleries still full of 


water, and filling with breccia, with, which the bones 
of dead bears became mixed. As the land rose, these 
creatures for the most part betook themselves to lower 
levels, and in process of time the cavern stood upon a 
hill-side, perhaps several hundreds of feet above the 
sea ; and the mountain torrents, their beds not yet 
emptied of glacial detritus, washed into it stones and 
mud and carcases of animals of many species which 
had now swarmed across the plains elevated out of the 
sea, and multiplied in the land. This was the time of 
the cave earth ; and before its deposit was completed, 
though how long before, a confused and often-dis- 
turbed bed of this kind cannot tell, man himself seems 
to have been added to the inhabitants of the British 
land. In pursuit of game he sometimes ascended the 
valleys beyond the cavern, or even penetrated into its 
outer chambers ; or perhaps there were even in 
those days rude and savage hill-men, inhabiting the 
forests and warring with the more cultivated denizens 
of plains below, which are now deep under the waters. 
Their weapons, lost in the cave, or buried in the flesh 
of wounded animals which crept to the streams to 
assuage their thirst, are those found in the cave 
earth. The absence of human bones may merely show 
that the mighty hunters of those days were too hardy, 
athletic, and intelligent, often to perish from accidental 
causes, and that they did not use this cavern for a 
place of burial. But the land again subsided. The 
valley of that now nameless river, of which the Rhine, 
the Thames, and the Severn may have alike been tribu- 


taries, disappeared under the sea; and some tribs, 
driven from the lower lands, took refuge in this cave, 
now again near the encroaching waves, and left there 
the remains of their last repasts, ere they were driver 
farther inland or engulfed in the waters. For a time 
the cavern may have been wholly submerged, and the 
charcoal of the extinguished fires became covered with 
its thin coating of clay. But ere long it re-emerged to 
form part of an island, long barren and desolate ; and 
the valleys having been cut deeper by the receding 
waters, it no longer received muddy deposits, and 
the crust formed by drippings from its roof contained 
only bones and pebbles washed by rains or occasional 
land floods from its own clay deposits. Finally, the 
modern forests overspread the land, and were tenanted 
by the modern animals. Man returned to use the 
cavern again as a place of refuge or habitation, and to 
leave there the relics contained in the black earth. 
This seems at present the only intelligible history of 
this curious cave and others resembling it ; though, 
when we consider the imperfection of the results 
obtained even by a large amount of labour, and the 
difficult and confused character of the deposits ia this 
and similar caves, too much value should not be 
attached to such histories, which may at any time be 
contradicted or modified by new facts or different 
explanations of those already known. The time in- 
volved depends very much, as already stated, on the 
question whether we regard the Post-glacial sub- 
sidence and re-elevation as somewhat sudden, or as 


occupying long ages at the slow rate at which some 
parts of our continents are now rising or sinking.* 

Such are the glimpses, obscure though stimulating 
to the imagination, which geology can give of the cir- 
cumstances attending the appearance of man in Western 
Europe. How far we are from being able to account 
for his origin, or to give its circumstances and relative 
dates for the whole world, the reader will readily 
understand. Still it is something to know that there 
is an intelligible meeting-place of the later geological 
ages and the age of man, and that it is one inviting to 
many and hopeful researches. It is curious also to find 
that the few monuments disinterred by geology, the 
antediluvian record of Holy Scripture, and the golden 
age of heathen tradition, seem alike to point to 
similar physical conditions, and to that simple state 
of the arts of life in which " gold and wampum 
and flint stones " f constituted the chief material 
treasures of the earliest tribes of men. They also 
point to the immeasurable elevation, then as now, of 
man over his brute rivals for the dominion of the 
earth. To the naturalist this subject opens up most 
inviting yet most difficult paths of research, to be 

* Another element in this is also the question raised by 
Dawkins, Geikie, and others as to subdivisions of the Post- 
glacial period and intermissions of the Glacial cold. Mr. Pen- 
^elly thinks that the Breccia of Kent's Cave may be pre- 
glacial or inter-glacial, but it is perhaps rather early Post- 

f So I read the "gold, bedolah, and shoham " of the descrip- 
tion of Eden in Genesis ii. the oldest literary record of the 
stone age. 


entered on with caution and reverence, rather than in 
the bold and dashing spirit of many modern attempts. 
The Christian, on his part, may feel satisfied that the 
scattered monumental relics of the caves and gravels 
will tell no story very different from that which he has 
long believed on other evidence, nor anything incon- 
sistent with those views of man's heavenly origin 
and destiny which have been the most precious inheri- 
tance of the greatest and best minds of every age, 
from that early pre-historic period when men, " palaeo- 
lithic " men, no doubt, began to " invoke the name of 
Jehovah," the coming Saviour, down to those times 
when life and immortality are brought to light, for all 
who will see, by the Saviour already come. 

In completing this series of pictures, I wish 
emphatically to insist on the imperfection of the 
sketches which I have been able to present, and which 
are less, in comparison with the grand march of the 
creative work, even as now imperfectly known to 
science, than the roughest pencilling of a child 
when compared with a finished picture. If they 
have any popular value, it will be in presenting 
such a broad general view of a great subject as may 
induce further study to fill up the details. If they 
have any scientific value, it will be in removing the 
minds of British students for a little from the too ex- 
clusive study of their own limited marginal area, which 
has been to them too much the " celestial empire " 
around which all other countries must be arranged, 
and in divesting the subject of the special colour- 


ing given to it by certain prominent cliques and 

Geology as a science is at present in a peculiar and 
somewhat exceptional state. Under the influence of 
a few men of commanding genius belonging to the 
generation now passing away, it has made so gigantic 
conquests that its armies have broken up into bands 
of specialists, little better than scientific banditti, 
liable to be beaten in detail, and prone to commit 
outrages on common sense and good taste, which 
bring their otherwise good cause into disrepute. 
The leaders of these bands are, many of them, good 
soldiers, but few of them fitted to be general officers, 
and none of them able to reunite our scattered de- 
tachments. We need larger minds, of broader cul- 
ture and wider sympathies, to organise and rule the 
lands which we have subdued, and to lead on to 
further conquests. 

In the present state of natural science in Britain, 
this evil is perhaps to be remedied only by providing 
a wider and deeper culture for our young men. Few 
of our present workers have enjoyed that thorough 
training in mental as well as physical science, which 
is necessary to enable men even of great powers to 
take large and lofty views of the scheme of nature. 
Hence we often find men who are fair workers in 
limited departments, reasoning most illogically, taking 
narrow and local views, elevating the exception into 
the rule, led away by baseless metaphysical subtleties, 
quarrelling with men who look at their specialties 


from a different point of view, and even striving and 
plotting for the advancement of their own hobbies. 
Such defects certainly mar much of the scientific 
work now being done. In the more advanced walks 
of scientific research, they are to some extent neutral- 
ised by that free discussion which true science always 
fosters ; though even here they sometimes vexatiously 
arrest the progress of truth, or open floodgates of 
error which it may require much labour to close. But 
in public lectures and popular publications they run 
riot, and are stimulated by the mistaken opposition of 
narrow-minded good men, by the love of the new and 
sensational, and by the rivalry of men struggling for 
place and position. To launch a clever and startling 
fallacy which will float for a week and stir up a hard 
fight, seems almost as great a triumph as the dis- 
covery of an important fact or law ; and the honest 
student is distracted with the multitude of doctrines, 
and hustled aside by the crowd of ambitious ground- 

The only remedy in the case is a higher and more 
general scientific education ; and yet I do not wonder 
that many good men object to this, simply because 
of the difficulty of finding honest and competent 
teachers, themselves well grounded in their subjects, 
and free from that too common insanity of specialists 
and half-educated men, which impels them to run 
amuck at everything that does not depend on their 
own methods of research. This is a difficulty which 
can be met in our time only by the general good 


sense and right feeling of the community taking a 
firm hold of the matter, and insisting on the or- 
ganization and extension of the higher scientific 
education, as well as that of a more elementary 
character, under the management of able and sane 
men. Yet even if not so counteracted, present follies 
will pass away, and a new and better state of natural 
science will arise in the future, by its own internal 
development. Science cannot long successfully isolate 
itself from God. Its life lies in the fact that it is the 
exponent of the plans and works of the great Creative 
Will. It must, in spite of itself, serve His purposes, 
by dispelling blighting ignorance and superstition, 
by lighting the way to successive triumphs of human 
ski 1 ! over the powers of nature, and by guarding men 
from the evils that flow from infringement of natural 
laws. And it cannot fail, as it approaches nearer to 
the boundaries of that which may be known by finite 
minds, to be humbled by the contemplation of the 
infinite, and to recognise therein that intelligence of 
which the human mind is but the image and shadow. 

It may be that theologians also are needed who shall 
be fit to take the place of Moses to our generation, in 
teaching it again the very elements of natural theo- 
logy; but let them not look upon science as a cold 
and godless demon, holding forth to the world a 
poisoned cup cunningly compounded of truth and 
falsehood; but rather as the natural ally and as- 
sociate of the gospel of salvation. The matter is so 
put in one of those visions which close the canon of 


revelation, when the prophet sees a mighty angel 
having the " everlasting gospel to preach ; " but he 
begins his proclamation by calling on men to 
" worship Him that made heaven and earth and the 
sea and the fountains of waters." Men must know 
God as the Creator even before they seek Him as 
a benefactor and redeemer. Thus religion must go 
hand in hand with all true and honest science. In 
this way only may we look forward to a time when 
a more exact and large-minded science shall be in 
perfect accord with a more pure and spiritual 
Christianity, when the natural and the spiritual shall 
be seen to be the necessary complements of each 
other, and when we shall hear no more of reconcilia- 
tions between science and theology, because there 
will be no quarrels to reconcile. Already, even in 
the present chaos of scientific and religious opinion, 
indications can be seen by the observant, that the 
Divine Spirit of order is breathing on the mass, and 
will evolve from it new and beautiful worlds of 
mental and spiritual existence. 



THE geological record, as we have been reading it, 
introduces us to primitive man, but gives us no 
distinct information as to his origin. Tradition and 
revelation have, it is true, their solutions of the 
mystery, but there are, and always have been, many 
who will not take these on trust, but must grope for 
themselves with the taper of science or philosophy 
into the dark caverns whence issue the springs of 
humanity. In former times it was philosophic specu- 
lation alone which lent its dim and uncertain light to 
these bold inquirers ; but in our day the new and 
startling discoveries in physics, chemistry, and biology 
have Hashed up with an unexpected brilliancy, and 
have at least served to aazzie the eyes and encourage 
the hopes of the curious, and to lead to explorations 
more bold and systematic than any previously under- 
taken. Thus has been born amongst us, or rather 
renewed, for it is a very old thing, that evolutionist 
philosophy, which has been well characterised as the 
" baldest of all the philosophies which have sprung up 
iu our world," and which solves the question of human 
origin by the assumption that human nature exists 
potentially in mere inorganic matter, and that a chain 


of spontaneous derivation connects incandescent mole- 
cules or star-dust with the world, and with man 

This evolutionist doctrine is itself one of the 
strangest phenomena of humanity. It existed, and 
most naturally, in the oldest philosophy and poetry, 
in connection with the crudest and most uncritical 
attempts of the human mind to grasp the system of 
nature ; but that in our day a system destitute of 
any shadow of proof, and supported merely by vague 
analogies and figures of speech, and by the arbitrary 
and artificial coherence of its own parts, should be 
accepted as a philosophy, and should find able ad- 
herents to string upon its thread of hypotheses our 
vast and weighty stores of knowledge, is surpassingly 
strange. It seems to indicate that the accumulated 
facts of our age have gone altogether beyond its 
capacity for generalisation; and but for the vigour 
\vhich one sees everywhere, it might be taken as an 
indication that the human mind has fallen into a 
state of senility, and in its dotage mistakes for science 
the imaginations which were the dreams of its youth. 

In many respects these speculations are important 
and worthy of the attention of thinking men. They 
seek to revolutionise the religious beliefs of the world, 
and if accepted would destroy most of the existing 
theology and philosophy. They indicate tendencies 
among scientific thinkers, which, though probably 
temporary, must, before they disappear, descend to 
lower strata, and reproduce themselves in grosser 


forms, and with most serious effects on the whole 
structure of society. With one class of minds they 
constitute a sort of religion, which so far satisfies the 
craving for truths higher than those which relate to 
immediate wants and pleasures. With another and 
perhaps larger class, they are accepted as affording a 
welcome deliverance from all scruples of conscience 
and fears of a hereafter. In the domain of science 
evolutionism has like tendencies. It reduces the posi- 
tion of man, who becomes a descendant of inferior 
animals, and a mere term in a series whose end is 
unknown. It removes from the study of nature the 
ideas of final cause and purpose ; and the evolutionist, 
instead of regarding the world as a work of consum- 
mate plan, skill, and adjustment, approaches nature as 
he would a chaos of fallen rocks, which may present 
forms of castles and grotesque profiles of men and 
animals, but they are all fortuitous and without 
significance. It obliterates the fine perception of 
differences from the mind of the naturalist, and 
resolves all the complicated relations of living things 
into some simple idea of descent with modification. 
It thus destroys the possibility of a philosophical 
classification, reducing all things to a mere series, 
and leads to a rapid decay in systematic zoology and 
botany, which is already very manifest among the 
disciples of Spencer and Darwin in England. The 
effect of this will be, if it proceeds further, in a great 
degree to destroy the educational value and popular 
interest attaching to these sciences, and to throw them 


down at the feet of a system of debased metaphysics. 
As redeeming features in all this, are the careful 
study of varietal forms, and the inquiries as to the 
limits of species, which have sprung from these dis- 
cussions, and the harvest of which will be reaped by 
the true naturalists of the future. 

Thus these theories as to the origin of men and 
animals and plants are full of present significance, 
and may be studied with profit by all ; and in no part 
of their applications more usefully than in that which 
relates to man. Let us then inquire, 1. What is 
implied in the idea of evolution as applied to man '? 
2*. What is implied in the idea of creation ? 3. How 
these several views accord with what we actually know 
as the result of scientific investigation ? The first and 
second of these questions may well occupy the whole 
of this chapter, and we shall be able merely to glance 
at their leading aspects. In doing so, it may be well 
first to place before us in general terms the several 
alternatives which evolutionists offer, as to the mode in 
which the honour of an origin from apes or ape-like 
animals can be granted to us, along with the opposite 
view as to the independent origin of man which have 
been maintained either on scientific or scriptural 

All the evolutionist theories of the origin of man 
depend primarily on the possibility of his having 
been produced from some of the animals more closely 
allied to him, by the causes now in operation which 
lead to varietal forms, or by similar causes wlu3h have 


been in operation ; and some attach more and others 
less weight to certain of these causes, or gratuitously 
suppose others not actually known. Of such causes 
of change some are internal and others external to 
the organism. With respect to the former, one 
school assumes an innate tendency in every species to 
change in the course of time.* Another believes in 
exceptional births, either in the course of ordinary 
generation or by the mode of parthenogenesis, f An- 
other refers to the known facts of reproductive 
acceleration or retardation observed in some humble 
^reatures.J New forms arising in any of these ways 
or fortuitously, may, it is supposed, be perpetuated and 
increased and further improved by favouring external 
circumstances and the effort of the organism to avail 
itself of these, or by the struggle for existence and 
the survival of the fittest. || 

On the other hand, those who believe in the inde- 
pendent origin of man admit the above causes as 
adequate only to produce mere varieties, liable to 
return into the original stock. They may either 
hold that man has appeared as a product of special 
and miraculous creation, or that he has been created 
mediately by the operation of forces also concerned 
in the production of other animals, but the precise 
nature of which is still unknown to us ; or lastly, they 
may hold what seems to be the view favoured by the 
book of Genesis, that his bodily form is a product 

* Parsons, Owen. f Mivart, Ferris. 

J Hyatt and Cope. Lamarck, etc. || Darwin, etc. 


of mediate creation and his spiritual nature a direct 
emanation from his Creator. 

The discussion of all these rival theories would 
occupy volumes, and to follow them into details 
would require investigations which have already 
bewildered many minds of some scientific culture. 
Further, it is the belief of the writer that this plung- 
ing into multitudes of details has been fruitful of 
error, and that it will be a better course to endeavour 
to reach the root of the matter by looking at the 
foundations of the genei'al doctrine of evolution itself, 
and then contrasting it with its rival. 

Taking, then, this broad view of the subject, two 
great leading alternatives are presented to us. Either 
man is an independent product of the will of a 
Higher Intelligence, acting directly or through the 
laws and materials of his own institution and produc- 
tion, or he has, been produced by an unconscious 
evolution from lower things. It is true that many evo- 
lutionists, either unwilling to offend, or not perceiving 
the logical consequences of their own hypothesis, 
endeavour to steer a middle course, and to maintain 
that the Creator has proceeded by way of evolution. 
But the bare, hard logic of Spencer, the greatest Eng- 
lish authority on evolution, leaves noplace for this com- 
promise, and shows that the theory, carried out to its 
legitimate consequences, excludes the knowledge of a 
Creator and the possibility of His work. We have, 
therefore, to choose between evolution and creation ; 
bearing in mind, however, that there may be a place 



in nature for evolution, properly limited, as well as for 
other things, and that the idea of creation by no means 
excludes law and second causes. 

Limiting ourselves in the first place to theories 
of evolution, and to these as explaining the origin 
of species of living beings, and especially of man, 
we naturally first inquire as to the basis on which 
they are founded. Now no one pretends that they 
rest on facts actually observed, for no one has ever 
observed the production of even one species. Nor 
do they even rest, like the deductions of theoretical 
geology, on the extension into past time of causes 
of change now seen to be in action. Their proba- 
bility depends entirely on their capacity to account 
hypothetically for certain relations of living creatures 
to each other, and to the world without; and the 
strongest point of the arguments of their advocates is 
the accumulation of cases of such relations supposed 
to be accounted for. Such being the kind of argu- 
ment with which we have to deal, we may first 
inquire what we are required to believe as conditions 
of the action of evolution, and secondly, to what ex- 
tent it actually does explain the phenomena. 

In the first place, as evolutionists, we are required 
to assume certain forces, or materials, or both, with 
which evolution shall begin. Darwin, in his Origin 
of Species, went so far as to assume the existence of 
a few of the simpler types of animals ; but this view, 
of course, was only a temporary resting-place for his 
theory. Others assume primitive protoplasm, or 


physical basis of life, and arbitrarily assigning to 
this substance properties now divided between or- 
ganised and unorganised, and between dead and 
living matter, find no difficulty in deducing all plant? 
and animals from it. Still, even this cannot have 
been the ultimate material. It must have been 
evolved from something. We are thus brought 
back to certain molecules of star-dust, or certain 
conflicting forces, which must have had self-exist- 
ence, and must have potentially included all subse- 
quent creatures. Otherwise, if with Spencer we 
hold that God is "unknowable," and creation "un- 
thinkable/' we are left suspended on nothing over 
a bottomless void, and must adopt as the initial 
proposition of our philosophy, that all things were 
made out of nothing, and by nothing; unless we 
prefer to doubt whether anything exists, and to 
push the doctrine of relativity to the unscientific 
extreme of believing that we can study the relations 
of things non-existent or unknown. So we must 
allow the evolutionist some small capital to start 
with; observing, however, that self-existent matter 
in a state of endless evolution is something of which 
we cannot possibly have any definite conception. 

Being granted thus much, the evolutionist next 
proceeds to demand that we shall also believe in the 
indefinite variability of material things, and shall set 
aside all idea that there is any difference in kind 
between the different substances which we know. 
They must all be mutually convertible, or at least 


derivable from some primitive material. It is truo 
that this is contrary to experience. The chemist 
holds that matter is of different kinds, that one 
element cannot be converted into another; and he 
would probably smile if told that, even in the lapse 
of enormous periods of time, limestone could be 
evolved out of silica. He may think that this is 
very different from the idea that a snail can be 
evolved from an oyster, or a bird from a reptile. 
But the zoologist will inform him that species of 
animals are only variable within certain limits, and 
are not transmutable, in so far as experience and 
experiment are concerned. They have their allotro- 
pic forms, but cannot be changed into one another. 

But if we grant this second demand, the evolutionist 
has a third in store for us. We must also admit that 
by some inevitable necessity the changes of things 
must in the main take place in one direction, from 
the more simple to the more complex, from the lower 
to the higher. At first sight this seems not only to 
follow from the previous assumptions, but to accord 
. with observation. Do not all living things rise from 
a simpler to a more complex state ? has not the 
history of the earth displayed a gradually increasing 
elevation and complexity? But, on the other hand, 
the complex organism becoming mature, resolves 
itself again into the simple germ, and finally is dis- 
solved into its constituent elements. The complex 
returns into the simple, and what we see is not an 
evolution, but a revolution. In like manner, in 


geological time, the tendency seems to be ever to 
disintegration and decay. This we see everywhere, 
and find that elevation occurs only by the introduc- 
tion of new species in a way which is not obvious, 
and which may rather imply the intervention of a 
cause from without; so that here also we are required 
to admit as a general principle what is contrary to 

If, however, we grant the evolutionist these pos- 
tulates, we must next allow him to take the facts of 
botany and zoology out of their ordinary connection, 
and thread them like a string of beads, as Herbert 
Spencer has done in his "Biology," on the threefold 
cord thus fashioned. This done, we next find, as 
might have been expected, certain gaps or breaks 
which require to be cunningly filled with artificial 
material, in order to give an appearance of continuity 
to the whole. 

The first of these gaps which we notice is that 
between dead and living matter. It is easy to fill 
this with such a term as protoplasm, which includes 
matter both dead and living, and so to ignore this 
distinction ; but practically we do not yet know as a 
possible thing the elevation of matter, without the 
agency of a previous living organism, from that plane 
in which it is subject merely to physical force, and is 
unorganised, to that where it becomes organised, and 
lives. Under that strange hypothesis of the origin 
of life from meteors, with which Sir William Thomson 
closed his address at a late meeting of the British 


Association, there was concealed a cutting sarcasm 
v/hich the evolutionists felt. It reminded them that 
the men who evolve all things from physical forces 
do not yet know how these forces can produce the 
phenomena of life even in its humblest forms. It 
is true that the scientific world has been again and 
again startled by the announcement of the produc- 
tion of some of the lowest forms of life, either from 
dead organic matter, or from merely mineral sub- 
stances ; but in every case heretofore the effort has 
proved as vain as the analogies attempted to be set 
np between the formation of crystals and that of 
organized tissues are fallacious. 

A second gap is that which separates vegetable and 
animal life. These are necessarily the converse of 
each other, the one deoxidizes and accumulates, the 
other oxidizes and expends. Only in reproduction 
or decay does the plant simulate the action of the 
animal, and the animal never in its simplest forms 
assumes the functions of the plant. Those obscure 
cases in the humbler spheres of animal and vegetable 
life which have been supposed to show a union of 
the two kingdoms, disappear on investigation. This 
gap can, I believe, be filled up only by an appeal to 
our ignorance. There may be, or may have been, 
some simple creature unknown to us, on the extreme 
verge of the plant kingdom, that was capable of 
passing the limit and becoming an animal. But no 
proof of this exists. It is true that the primitive 
germs of many kinds of humble plants and animals 


are so much, alike, that much confusion has arisen m 
tracing their development. It is also true that some 
of these creatures can subsist under very dissimilar 
conditions, and in very diverse states, and that under 
the specious name of Biology,* we sometimes find a 
mass of these confusions, inaccurate observations and 
varietal differences made to do duty for scientific facts. 
But all this does not invalidate the grand primary 
distinction between the animal and the plant, which 
should be thoroughly taught and illustrated to all 
young naturalists, as one of the best antidotes to 
the fallacies of the evolutionist school. 

A third is that between any species of animal or 
plant and any other species. It was this gap, and 
this only, which Darwin undertook to fill up by his 
great work on the origin of species, but, notwith- 
standing the immense amount of material thus ex- 
pended, it yawns as wide as ever, since it must be 

* It is doubtful whether men who deny the existence of vital 
force have a right to call their science " Biology," any more 
than atheists have to call their doctrine " Theology ; " and it is 
certain that the assumption of a science of Biology as distinct 
from Phytology and Zoology, or including both, is of the 
nature of a " pious fraud " on the part of the more enlightened 
evolutionists. The objections stated in the text, to what have 
been called Archebiosis and Heterogenesis seem perfectly ap- 
plicable, in so far as I can judge from a friendly review by 
Wallace, to the mass of heterogeneous material accumulated 
by Dr. Bastian in his recent volumes. The conclusions of 
this writer, would also, if established, involve evolution in a 
fatal embarras des richesses, by the hourly production during 
all geological time, of millions of new forms all capable of 
indefinite development. 


admitted that no case has been ascertained in which 
an individual of one species has transgressed the 
limits between" it and other species. However ex- 
tensive the varieties produced by artificial breeding, 
the essential characters of the species remain, and 
even its minor characters may be reproduced, while 
the barriers established in nature between species by 
the laws of their reproduction, seem to be absolute. 

With regard to species, however, it must bo 
observed that naturalists are not agreed as to what 
constitutes a species. Many so-called species are 
probably races or varieties, and one benefit of these 
inquiries has been to direct attention to the proper 
discrimination of species from varieties among animals 
and plants. The loose discrimination of species, and 
the tendency to multiply names, have done much to 
promote evolutionist views ; but the researches of the 
evolutionists themselves have shown that we must 
abandon transmutation of true species as a thing of 
the present; and if we imagine it to have occurred, 
must refer it to the past. 

Another gap is that between the nature of the 
animal and the self-conscious, reasoning, moral nature 
of man. We not only have no proof that any animal 
can, by any force in itself, or by any merely physical 
influences from without, rise to such a condition; 
but the thing is in the highest degree improbable. 
It is easy to affirm, with the grosser materialists, that 
thought is a secretion of brain, as bile is of the 
liver; but a moment's thought shows that no real 


analogy obtains "between the cases. We may vaguely 
suppose, with Darwin, that the continual exercise of 
such powers a ( s animals possess, may have developed 
those of man. But our . experience of animals shows 
that their intelligence differs essentially from that of 
man, being a closed circle ever returning into itself, 
while that of man is progressive, inventive, and ac- 
jumulative, and can no more be correlated with that 
of the animal than the vital phenomena of the animal 
with those of the plant. Nor can the gap between 
the higher religious and moral sentiments of man, 
and the instinctive affections of the brutes, be filled 
up with that miserable ape imagined by Lubbock, 
which, crossed in love, or pining with cold and 
hunger, conceived, for the first time in its poor 
addled pate, "the dread of evil to come," and KO 
became the father of theology. This conception, 
which Darwin gravely adopts, would be most ludi- 
crous, but for the frightful picture which it gives 
of the aspect in which religion appears to the mind 
of the evolutionist. 

The reader will now readily perceive that the sim- 
plicity and completeness of the evolutionist theory 
entirely disappear when we consider the unproved 
assumptions on which it is based, and its failure to 
connect with each other some of the most important 
facts in nature : that, in short, it is not in any true 
sense a philosophy, but merely an arbitrary arrange- 
ment of facts in accordance with a number of unproved 
hypotheses. Such philosophies, "falsely so called," 


have existed ever since man began to reason on nature, 
and this last of them is one of the weakest and most 
pernicious of the whole. Let the reader take up 
either of Darwin's great books, or Spencer's "Bio- 
logy," and merely ask himself as he reads each para- 
graph, " What is assumed here and what is proved?" 
and he will find the whole fabric melt away like a 
vision. He will find, however, one difference between 
these writers. Darwin always states facts carefully 
and accurately, and when he comes to a difficulty 
tries to meet it fairly. Spencer often exaggerates or 
extenuates with reference to his facts, and uses the 
arts of the dialectician where argument fails. 

Many naturalists who should know better are puz- 
zled with the great array of facts presented by 
evolutionists ; and while their better judgment causes 
them to doubt as to the possibility of the structures 
which they study being produced by such blind and 
material processes, are forced to admit that there 
must surely be something in a theory so confidently 
asserted, supported by so great names, and by such 
an imposing array of relations which it can explain. 
They would be relieved from their weak concessions 
were they to study carefully a few of the instances 
adduced, and to consider how easy it is by a little 
ingenuity to group undoubted facts around a false 
theory. I could wish to present here illustrations of 
this, which abound in every part of the works I have 
referred to, but space will not permit. One or two 
must suffice. The first may be taken from one of 


the strong points often dwelt on by Spencer in his 
" Biology."* 

"But the experiences which most clearly illustrate 
to us the process of general evolution are our ex- 
periences of special evolution, repeated in every plant 
and animal. Each organism exhibits, within a short 
space of time, a series of changes which, when sup- 
posed to occupy a period indefinitely great and to 
go on in various ways instead of one, may give us 
a tolerably clear conception of organic evolution in 
general. In an individual development we have com- 
pressed into a comparatively infinitesimal space a 
series of metamorphoses equally vast with those 
which the hypothesis of evolution assumes to have 
taken place during those unmeasurable epochs that 
the earth's crust tells us of. A tree differs from a 
seed immeasurably in every respect in bulk, in 
structure, in colour, in form, in specific gravity, in 
chemical composition : differs so greatly that no 
visible resemblance of any kind can be pointed out 
between them. Yet is the one changed in the 
course of a few years into the other ; changed so 
gradually that at no moment can it be said, 'Now 
the seed ceases to be and the tree exists/ What 
can be more widely contrasted than a newly-born 
child and the small gelatinous spherule constituting 
the human ovum ? The infant is so complex in 
structure that a cyclopaedia is needed to describe its 
constituent parts. The germinal vesicle is so simple 
" Principles of Biology," 118. 


that it may be defined in a line. ... If a single 
cell under appropriate conditions becomes a man in 
the space of a few years, there can surely be no diffi- 
culty in understanding how, under appropriate con- 
ditions, a cell may in the course of untold millions of 
years give origin to the human race." 

" It is true that many minds are so unfurnished 
with those experiences of nature, out of which this 
conception is built, that they find difficulty in form- 
ing it. ... To such the hypothesis that by any 
series of changes a protozoan should ever give origin 
to a mammal seems grotesque as grotesque as did 
Galileo's assertion of the earth's movement seem to 
the Aristoteleans ; or as grotesque as the assertion 
of the earth's sphericity seems now to the New 

I quote the above as a specimen of evolutionist 
reasoning from the hand of a master, and as referring 
to one of the corner-stones of this strange philosophy. 
I may remark with respect to it, in the first place, 
that it assumes those " conditions " of evolution to 
which I have already referred. In the second place, 
it is full of inaccurate statements of fact, all in & 
direction tending to favour the hypothesis. For ex- 
ample, a tree does not differ " immeasurably " from a 
seed, especially if the seed is of the same species of 
tree, for the principal parts of the tree and its 
principal chemical constituents already exist and can 
be detected in the seed, and unless it were so, the 
development of the tree from the seed could not take 


place. Besides, the seed itself is not a tiling self- 
existent or fortuitous. The production of a seed 
without a previous tree of the same kind is quite a? 
difficult to suppose as the production of a tree with- 
out a previous seed containing its living embryo. In 
the third place, the whole argument is one of analogy. 
The germ becomes a mature animal, passing through 
many intermediate stages, therefore the animal may 
have descended from some creature which when 
mature was as simple as the germ. The value oi 
such an analogy depends altogether on the similarity 
of the " conditions," which, in such a case, are really 
the efficient causes at work. The germ of a mammal 
becomes developed by the nourishment supplied from 
the system of a parent, which itself produced the 
germ, and into whose likeness the young animal is 
destined to grow. These are the " appropriate con- 
ditions " of its development. But when our author 
assumes from this other " appropriate conditions," by 
vhich an organism, which on the hypothesis is not a 
germ but a mature animal, shall be developed into the 
likeness of something different from its parent, he 
oversteps the bounds of legitimate analogy. Further, 
the reproduction of the animal, as observed, is a 
closed series, beginning at the embryo and returning 
thither again ; the evolution attempted to be estab- 
lished is a progressive series going on from one stage 
to another. A reproductive circle once established 
obeys certain definite laws, but its origin, or how it 
can leave its orbit and revolve in some other, we 


cannot explain without the introduction of some new 
efficient cause. The one term of the analogy is a 
revolution, and the other is an evolution. The re- 
volution within the circle of the reproduction of the 
species gives no evidence that at some point the body 
will fly off at a tangent, and does not even inform us 
whether it is making progress in space. Even if it 
is so making progress, its orbit of revolution may 
remain the same. But it may be said the reproduc- 
tion of the species is not in a circle but in a spiral. 
Within the limit of experience it is not so, since., 
however it may undulate, it always returns into 
itself. But supposing it to be a spiral, it may ascend 
or descend, or expand and contract ; but this does 
not connect it with other similar spirals, the separate 
origin of which is to be separately accounted for. 

I have quoted the latter part of the passage because 
it is characteristic of evolutionists to decry the intel- 
ligence of those who differ from them. Now it is fair 
to admit that it requires some intelligence and some 
knowledge of nature to produce or even to understand 
such analogies as those of Mr. Spencer and his fol- 
lowers, but it is no less true that a deeper insight 
into the study of nature may not only enable us io 
understand these analogies, but to detect their 
fallacies. I am sorry to say, however, that at pre- 
sent the hypothesis of evolution is giving so strong 
a colouring to much of popular and even academic 
teaching, more especially in the easy and flippant 
conversion of the facts of embryology into instances 


of evolution on the plan of the above extract, that the 
Spencerians may not long have to complain of want 
of faith and appreciation on the part of the improved 
apes whom they are kind enough to instruct as to 
their lowly origin. 

The mention of " appropriate conditions " in the 
above extract reminds me of another fatal objection 
to evolution which its advocates continually overlook. 
An animal or plant advancing from maturity to the 
adult state is in every stage of its progress a complete 
and symmetrical organism, correlated in all its parts 
and adapted to surrounding conditions. Suppose it 
to become modified in any way, to ever so small an 
extent, the whole of these relations are disturbed. 
If the modification is internal and spontaneous, there 
is no guarantee that it will suit the vastly numerous 
external agencies to which the creature is subjected. 
Tf it is produced by agencies from without, there is 
no guarantee that it will accord with the internal 
relations of the parts modified. The probabilities are 
incalculably great against the occurrence of many 
such disturbances without the breaking up altogether 
of the nice adjustment of parts and conditions. This 
is no doubt one reason of the extinction of so many 
species in geological time, and also of the strong 
tendency of every species to spring back to its normal 
condition when in any way artificially caused to vary. 
It is also connected with the otherwise mysterious law 
of the constant transmission of all the characters of 
the parent. 


Spencer and Darwin occasionally see this difficulty, 
though they habitually neglect it in their reasonings. 
Spencer even tries to turn one part of it to account as 
follows : 

" Suppose the head of a mammal to become very 
much more weighty what must be the indirect re- 
sults ? The muscles of the neck are put to greater 
exertions; and the vertebrae have to bear additional 
tensions and pressures caused both by the increased 
weight of the head and the stronger contraction of 
muscles that support and move the head.'" He goes 
on to say that the processes of the vertebrae will have 
augmented strains put upon them, the thoracic region 
and fore limbs will have to be enlarged, and even the 
hind limbs may require modification to facilitate loco- 
motion. He concludes : " Any one who compares the 
outline of the bison with that of its congener, the 
ox, will clearly see how profoundly a heavier head 
affects the entire osseous and muscular system." 

We need not stop to mention the usual inaccuracies 
as to facts in this paragraph, as, for example, the 
support of the head being attributed to muscles 
alone, without reference to the strong elastic liga- 
ment of the neck. We may first notice the assump- 
tion that an animal can acquire a head " very much 
more weighty " than that which it had before, a very 
improbable supposition, whether as a monstrous birth 
or as an effect of external conditions after birth. But 
suppose this to have occurred, and what is even less 
likely, that the very much heavier head is an advan 


tage in some way, what guarantee can evolution give 
us that the number of other modifications required 
would take place simultaneously with this acquisition ? 
It would be easy to show that this would depend 
on the concurrence of hundreds of other conditions 
within and without the animal, all of which must 
co-operate to produce the desired effect, if indeed they 
could produce this effect even by their conjoint action, 
a power which the writer, it will be observed, quietly 
assumes, as well as the probability of the initial 
change in the head. Finally, the naivete with which 
it is assumed that the bison and the ox are examples 
of such an evolution, would be refreshing in these 
artificial days, if instances of it did not occur in almost 
every page of the writings of evolutionists. 

It would only weary the reader to follow evolution 
any further into details, especially as my object in 
this chapter is . to show that generally, and as a 
theory of nature and of man, it has no good founda- 
tion; but we should not leave the subject without 
noting precisely the derivation of man according to 
this theory; and for this purpose I may quote Dar- 
win's summary of his conclusions on the subject.* 

" Man/' says Mr. Darwin, " is descended from a 
hairy quadruped, furnished with a tail and pointed 
ears, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabit- 
ant of the Old World. This creature, if its whole 
structure had been examined by a naturalist, would 
have been classed amongst the quadrumana, as surely 
* " Descent of Man," part ii., ch. 21. 


as would the common, and still more ancient, pro- 
genitor of the Old and New World monkeys. The 
qnadrumana and all the higher mammals are probably 
derived from an ancient marsupial animal; and this, 
through a long line of diversified forms, either from 
some reptile-like or some amphibian-like creature, 
and this again from some fish- like animal. In the 
dim obscurity of the past we can see that the early 
progenitor of all the vertebrata must have been an 
aquatic animal, provided with branchiae, with the 
two sexes united in the same individual, and with 
the most important organs of the body (such as 
the brain and heart) imperfectly developed. This 
animal seems to have been more like the larva? of our 
existing marine Ascidians than any other form known." 
The author of this passage, in condescension to oui 
weakness of faith, takes us no further back than to an 
Ascidian, or " sea-squirt," the resemblance, however, 
of which to a vertebrate animal is merely analogical, 
and, though a very curious case cf analogy, altogethei 
temporary and belonging to the young state of the 
creature, without affecting its adult state or its real 
affinities with other mollusks. In order, however, 
to get the Ascidian itself, he must assume all the 
" conditions " already referred to in the previous part 
of this article, and fill most of the gaps. He has, 
however, in the " Origin of Species " and " Descent 
of Man," attempted merely to fill one of the breaks 
in the evolutionary series, that between distinct 
species, leaving us to receive all the rest on mere 

VRlillTIVE MAN. 839 

faith. Even in respect to the" question of species, 
in all the long chain between the Ascidian and the 
man, he has not certainly established one link; and 
in the very last change, that from the ape-like 
ancestor, he equally fails to satisfy us as to matters 
so trivial as the loss of the hair, which, on the 
hypothesis, clothed the pre-human back, and on 
matters so weighty as the dawn of human reason 
and conscience. 

We thus see that evolution as an hypothesis has no 
basis in experience or in scientific fact, and that its 
imagined series of transmutations has breaks which 
cannot be filled. We have now to consider how it 
stands with the belief that man has been created by 
a higher power. Against this supposition the evolu- 
tionists try to create a prejudice in two ways. First, 
they maintain with Herbert Spencer that the hypo- 
thesis pf creation is inconceivable, or, as they say, 
" unthinkable ;" an assertion which, when examined, 
proves to mean only that we do not know perfectly 
the details of such an operation, an objection equally 
fatal to the origin either of matter or life, on the 
hypothesis of evolution. Secondly, they always refer 
to creation as if it must be a special miracle, in the 
sense of a contravention of or departure from ordinary 
natural laws ; but this is an assumption utterly without 
proof, since creation may be as much according to law 
as evolution, though in either case the precise laws 
involved may be very imperfectly known. 

How absurd, they say, to imagine an animal created 


at once, fully formed, by a special miracle, instead of 
supposing it to be slowly elaborated through countless 
ages of evolution. To Darwin the doctrine of crea- 
tion is but " a curious illustration of the blindness of 
preconceived opinion." " These authors," he says, 
" seem no more startled at a miraculous act of creation 
than at an ordinary birth ; but do they really believe 
that at innumerable periods in the earth's history, 
certain elemental atoms have been commanded sud- 
denly to flash into living tissues ? " Darwin, with all 
his philosophic fairness, sometimes becomes almost 
Spencerian in his looseness of expression ; and in the 
above extract, the terms " miraculous/' " innumer- 
able," " elemental atoms," "suddenly," and "flash," 
all express ideas in no respect necessary to the work of 
creation. Those who have no faith in evolution as a 
cause of the production of species, may well ask in 
return how the evolutionist can prove that creation 
must be instantaneous, that it must follow no law, that 
it must produce an animal fully formed, that it must 
be miraculous. In short, it is a portion of the policy 
of evolutionists to endeavour to tie down their oppo- 
nents to a purely gratuitous and ignorant view of 
creation, and then to attack them in that position. 

What, then, is the actual statement of the theory of 
creation as it may be held by a modern man of 
science ? Simply this ; that all things have been 
produced by the Supreme Creative Will, acting either 
directly or through the agency of the forces and 
materials of His own production. 


This theory does not necessarily affirm that creation 
is miraculous, in the sense of being contrary to or 
subversive of law ; law and order are as applicable to 
creation as to any other process. It does not contradict 
the idea of successive creations. There is no necessity 
that the process should be instantaneous and without 
progression. It does not imply that all kinds of 
creation are alike. There may be higher and lower 
kinds. It does not exclude the idea of similarity or 
dissimilarity of plan and function as to the products 
of creation. Distinct products of creation may be 
either similar to each other in different degrees, or 
dissimilar. It does not even exclude evolution or 
derivation to a certain extent : anything once created 
may, if sufficiently flexible and elastic, be evolved or 
involved in various ways. Indeed, creation and deriva- 
tion may, rightly understood, be complementary to 
each other. Created things, unless absolutely un- 
changeable, must be more or less modified by influences 
from within and from without, and derivation or evo- 
lution may account for certain subordinate changes 
of things already made. Man, for example, may be a 
product of creation, yet his creation may have been in 
perfect harmony with those laws of procedure which 
the Creator has set for His own operations. He may 
have been preceded by other creations of things more 
or less similar or dissimilar. He may have been 
created by the same processes with some or all of 
these, or by different means. His body may have 
been created in one way, his soul in another. He 


may, nay, in all probability would be, part of a plan 
of which some parts would approach very near to him 
in structure or functions. After his creation, spon- 
taneous culture and outward circumstances may have 
moulded him into varieties, and given him many 
different kinds of speech and of habits. These 
points are so obvious to common sense that it would 
be quite unnecessary to insist on them, were they 
not habitually overlooked or misstated by evolu- 

The creation hypothesis is also free from some of 
the difficulties of evolution. It avoids the absurdity 
of an eternal progression from the less to the more 
complex. It provides in will, the only source of 
power actually known to us by ordinary experience, an 
intelligible origin of nature. It does not require us to 
contradict experience by supposing that there are no 
differences of kind or essence in things. It does not 
require us to assume, contrary to experience, an in- 
variable tendency to differentiate and improve. It 
does not exact the bridging over of all gaps which 
may be found between the several grades of beings 
which exist or have existed. 

Why, then, are so many men of science disposed to 
ignore altogether this view of the matter ? Mainly, I 
believe, because, from the training of many of them, 
they are absolutely ignorant of the subject, and from 
their habits of thought have come to regard physical 
force and the laws regulating it as the one power in 
nature, and to relegate all spiritual powers or forces, 


or, as they have been taught to regard them, " super- 
natural " things, to the domain of the " unknowable." 
Perhaps some portion of the difficulty may be got 
over by abandoning altogether the word " super- 
natural," which has been much misused, and by hold- 
ing nature to represent the whole cosmos, and to in- 
clude both the physical and the spiritual, both of them 
in the fullest sense subject to law, but each to the law 
of its own special nature. I have read somewhere a 
story of some ignorant orientals who were induced to 
keep a steam-engine supplied with water by the fiction 
that it contained a terrible djin, or demon, who, if 
allowed to become thirsty, would break out and 
destroy them all. Had they been enabled to discard 
this superstition, and to understand the force of steam, 
we can readily imagine that they would now suppose 
they knew the whole truth, and might believe that any 
one who taught them that the engine was a product of 
intelligent design, was only taking them back to the 
old doctrine of the thirsty demon of the boiler. This 
is, I think, at present, the mental condition of many 
scientists with reference to creation. 

Here we come to the first demand which the doctrine 
of creation makes on us by way of premises. In 
order that there may be creation there must be a 
primary Self-existent Spirit, whose will is supreme. 
The evolutionist cannot refuse to admit this on as good 
ground as that on which we hesitate to receive the 
postulates of his faith. It is no real objection to say 
that a God can be known to us only partially, and, 


with reference to His real essence, not at all; since, 
even if we admit this, it is no more than can be said 
of matter and force. 

I am not about here to repeat any of the ordinary 
arguments for the existence of a spiritual First Cause, 
and Creator of all things, but it may be proper to 
show that this assumption is not inconsistent with 
experience, or with the facts and principles of modern 
science. The statement which I would make on this 
point shall be in the words of a very old writer, not so 
well known as he should be to many who talk volubly 
enough about antagonisms between science and Chris- 
tianity : " That which is known of God is manifest in 
them (in men), for God manifested it unto them. For 
since the creation of the world His invisible things, 
even His eternal power and divinity are plainly seen, 
being perceived by means of things that are made." * 
The statement here is very precise. Certain thing c 
relating to God are manifest within men's minds, and 
are proved by the evidence of His works ; these pro- 
perties of God thus manifested being specially His 
power or control of all forces, and His divinity or 
possession of a nature higher than ours. The argu- 
ment of the writer is that all heathens know this ; 
and, as a matter cf fact, I believe it must be admitted 
even by those most sceptical on such points, that some 
notion of a divinity has been derived from nature by 
men of all nations and tribes, if we except, perhaps, a 
few enlightened positivists of this nineteenth century, 
* Paul's Epistle to the Romans, chap. i. 


whom excess of light has made blind. " If the light 
that is in man be darkness, how great is that dark- 
ness." But then this notion of a God is a very old 
and primitive one, and Spencer takes care to inform 
us that " first thoughts are either wholly out of 
harmony with things, or in very incomplete harmony 
with them," and consequently that old beliefs and 
generally diffused notions are presumably wrong. 

Is it true, however, that the modern knowledge of 
nature tends to rob it of a spiritual First Cause ? One 
can conceive such a tendency, if all our advances in 
knowledge had tended more and more to identify force 
with matter in its grosser forms, and to remove more 
and more from our mental view those powers which 
are not material ; but the very reverse of this is the 
case. Modern discovery has tended more and more 
to attach importance to certain universally diffused 
media which do not seem to be subject to the laws of 
ordinary matter, and to prove at once the Protean 
character and indestructibility of forces, the aggregate 
of which, as acting in the universe, gives us our 
nearest approach to the conception of physical omni- 
potence. This is what so many of our evolutionists 
mean when they indignantly disclaim materialism. 
They know that there is a boundless energy beyond 
mere matter, and of which matter seems the sport and 
toy. Could they conceive of this energy as the ex- 
pression of a personal will, they would become theists. 

Man himself presents a microcosm of matter and 
force, raised to a higher plane than that of the merely 


chemical and physical. In him we find not merely 
that brain and nerve force which is common to him 
and lower animals, and which exhibits one of the most 
marvellous energies in nature, but we have the higher 
force of will and intellect, enabling him to read the 
secrets of nature, to seize and combine and utilize its 
laws like a god, and like a god to attain to the higher 
discernment of good and evil. Nay, more, this power 
which resides within man rules with omnipotent 
energy the material organism, driving its nerve forces 
until cells and fibres are worn out and destroyed, 
taxing muscles and tendons till they break, impelling 
its slave the body even to that which will bring injury 
and death itself. Surely, what we thus see in man 
must be the image and likeness of the Great Spirit. 
We can escape from this conclusion only by one or 
other of two assumptions, either of which is rather to 
be called a play upon words than a scientific theory. 
We may, with a certain class of physicists and physio- 
logists, confine our attention wholly to the fire and the 
steam, and overlook the engineer. We may assume 
that with protoplasm and animal electricity, for 
example, we can dispense with life, and not only with 
life but with spirit also. Yet he who regards vitality 
as an unmeaning word, and yet speaks of " living 
protoplasm," and " dead protoplasm," and affirms that 
between these two states, so different in their pheno- 
mena, no chemical or physical difference exists, is 
surely either laughing at us, or committing himself to 
what the Duke of Argyll calls a philosophical bull ; and 


he who shows us that electrical discharges are con- 
cerned in muscular contraction, has just as much 
proved that there is no need of life or spirit, as the 
electrician who has explained the mysteries of the 
telegraph has shown that there can be no need of an 
operator. Or we may, turning to the opposite extreme, 
trust to the metaphysical fallacy of those who affirm 
that neither matter, nor force, nor spirit, need concern 
them, for that all are merely states of consciousness in 
ourselves. But what of the conscious self this self 
which thinks, and which is in relation with surround- 
ings which it did not create, and which presumably 
did not create it ? and what is the unknown third term 
which must have been the means of setting up these 
relations ? Here again our blind guides involve us in 
an absolute self-contradiction. 

Thus we are thrown back on the grand old truth 
that man, heathen and savage, or Christian and scien- 
tific, opens his eyes on nature and reads therein 
both the physical and the spiritual, and in connection 
with both of these the power and divinity of an 
Almighty Creator. He may at first have many wrong 
views both of God and of His works, but as he pene- 
trates further into the laws of matter and mind, he 
attains more just conceptions of their relations to the 
Great Centre and Source of all, and instead of being 
able to dispense with creation, he hopes to be able at 
length to understand its laws and methods. If un- 
happily he abandons this high ambition, and con- 
tents himself with mere matter and physical force, he 


cannot rise to the highest development either of 
science or philosophy. 

It may, however, be said that evolution may admit 
all this, and still be held as a scientific doctrine in con- 
nection with a modified belief in creation. The work 
of actual creation may have been limited to a few 
elementary types, and evolution may have done the 
rest. Evolutionists may still be theists. We have 
already seen that the doctrine, as carried out to its 
logical consequences, excludes creation and theism. 
It may, however, be shown that even in its more 
modified forms, and when held by men who maintain 
that they are not atheists, it is practically atheistic, 
because excluding the idea of plan and design, and 
resolving all things into the action of unintelligent 
forces. It is necessary to observe this, because it is 
the half-way evolutionism which professes to have a 
Creator somewhere behind it, that is most popular; 
though it is, if possible, more unphilosophical than 
that which professes to set out from absolute and 
eternal nonentity, or from seL>existent star-dust con- 
taining all the possibilities of the universe. 

Absolute atheists recognise in Darwinism, for 
example, a philosophy which reduces all things to a 
" gradual summation of innumerable minute and acci- 
dental material operations," and in this they are more 
logical than those who seek to reconcile evolution with 
design. Huxley, in his "lay sermons," referring to 
Paley's argument for design founded on the structure 
of a watch, says that if the watch could be conceived 


to be a product of a less perfect structure improved 
by natural selection, it would then appear to be the 
" result of a method of trial and error worked by un- 
intelligent agents, as likely as of the direct application 
of the means appropriate to that end, by an intelligent 
agent." This is a bold and true assertion of the 
actual relation of even this modified evolution to 
rational and practical theism, which requires not 
merely this God " afar off," who has set the stone of 
nature rolling and then turned His back upon it, but a 
present God, whose will is the law of nature, now as in 
times past. The evolutionist is really in a position of 
absolute antagonism to the idea of creation, even when 
held with all due allowance for the variations of created 
things within certain limits. 

Perhaps Paley's old illustration of the watch, as 
applied by Huxley, may serve to show this as well 
as any other. If the imperfect watch, useless as a 
time-keeper, is the work of the contriver, and the 
perfection of it is the result of unintelligent agents 
working fortuitously, then it is clear that creation and 
design have a small and evanescent share in the 
construction of the fabric of nature. But is it really 
so ? Can we attribute the perfection of the watch 
to " accidental material operations " any more than the 
first effort to produce such an instrument ? Paley 
himself long ago met this view of the case, but his 
argument may be extended by the admissions and 
pleas of the evolutionists themselves. For example, 
the watch is altogether a mechanical thing, and thia 


fact by no means implies that it could not be made by 
an intelligent and spiritual designer, yet this assump- 
tion that physical laws exclude creation and design 
tarns up in almost every page of the evolutionists. 
Paley has well shown that if the watch contained 
within itself machinery for making other watches, this 
would not militate against his argument. It would be 
so if it could be proved that a piece of metal had 
spontaneously produced an imperfect watch, and this 
a more perfect one, and so on; but this is precisely 
what evolutionists still require to prove with respect 
both to the watch and to man. On the other hand 
it is no argument for the evolution of the watch 
that there may be different kinds of watches, some 
more and others less perfect, and that ruder forms may 
have preceded the more perfect. This is perfectly 
compatible with creation and design. Evolutionists, 
however, generally fail to make this distinction. Nor 
would it be any proof of the evolution of the watch 
to find that, as Spencer would say, it was in perfect 
harmony with its environment, as, for instance, that it 
kept time with the revolution of the earth, and 
contained contrivances to regulate its motion under 
different temperatures, unless it could be shown that 
the earth's motion and the changes of temperature had 
been efficient causes of the motion and the adjustments 
of the watch ; otherwise the argument would look 
altogether in the direction of design. Nor would it be 
fair to shut up the argument of design to the idea that 
the watch must have suddenly flashed into existence 


fully formed, and in motion. It would be quite as 
much a creation if slowly and laboriously made by 
the hand of the artificer, or if more rapidly struck 
off by machinery ; and if the latter, it would not follow 
that the machine which produced the watch was at all 
like the watch itself. It might have been something 
very different. Finally, when Spencer tries to cut at 
the root of the whole of this argument, by affirming 
that man has no more right to reason from himself 
with regard to his Maker than a watch would have 
to reason from its own mechanical structure and affirm 
the like of its maker, he signally fails. If the watch 
had such power of reasoning, it would be more than 
mechanical, and would be intelligent like its maker; 
and in any case, if thus reasoning it came to the 
conclusion that it was a result of " accidental material 
operations," it would be altogether mistaken. Nor 
would it be nearer the truth if it held that it was 
a product of spontaneous evolution from an imperfect 
and comparatively useless watch that had been made 
millions of years before. 

We have taken this illustration of the watch merely 
as given to us by Huxley, and without in the least 
seeking to overlook the distinction between a dead 
machine and a living organism; but the argument 
for creation and design is quite as strong in the case of 
the latter, so long as it cannot be proved by actual 
facts to be a product of derivation from a distinct 
species. This has not been proved either in the case of 
man or any other species; and so long as it has not, 


the theory of creation and design is infinitely more 
rational and scientific than that of evolution in any 
of its forms. 

But all this does not relieve us from the question, 
How can species be created ? the same question 
put to Paul by the sceptics of the first century with 
reference to the resurrection " How are the dead 
raised, and with what bodies do they come ? " I 
do not wish to evade this question, whether applied 
to man or to a microscopic animalcule, and I would 
answer it with the following statements : 

1. The advocate of creation is in this matter in 
no worse position than the evolutionist. This we have 
already shown, and I may refer here to the fact 
that Darwin himself assumes at least one primitive 
form of animal and plant life, and he is confessedly 
just as little able to imagine this one act of creation 
as any other that may be demanded of him. 

2. We are not bound to believe that all groups 
of individual animals, which naturalists may call 
species, have been separate products of creation. Man 
himself has by some naturalists been divided into 
several species ; but we may well be content to believe 
the creation of one primitive form, and the production 
of existing races by variation. Every zoologist and 
botanist who has studied any group of animals or 
plants with care, knows that there are numerous 
related forms passing into each other, which some 
naturalists might consider to be distinct species, but 
which it is certainly not necessary to regard as distinct 


products of creation. Every species is more or less 
variable, and this variability may be developed by 
different causes. Individuals exposed to unfavourable 
conditions will be stunted and depauperated j those 
in more favourable circumstances may be improved 
and enlarged. Important changes may thus take 
place without transgressing the limits of the species, 
or preventing a return to its typical forms ; and the 
practice of confounding these more limited changes 
with the wider structural and physiological differences 
which separate true species is much to be deprecated. 
Animals which pass through metamorphoses, or which 
are developed through the instrumentality of inter- 
mediate forms or " nurses/' * are not only liable to 
be separated by mistake into distinct species, but they 
may, under certain circumstances, attain to a premature 
maturity, or may be fixed for a time or permanently 
in an immature condition. Further, species, like in- 
dividuals, probably have their infancy, maturity, 
and decay in geological time, and may present 
differences in these several stages. It is the remainder 
of true specific types left after all these sources of 
error are removed, that creation has to account "for -, 
and to arrive at this remainder, and to ascertain its 
nature and amount, will require a vast expenditure 
of skilful and conscientious labour. 

3. Since animals and plants have been introduced 
upon our earth in long succession throughout geologic 

* Mr. Mungo Ponton, in his book " The Beginning," has 
based a theory of derivation on this peculiarity. 


time, and this in a somewhat regular manner, we 
have a right to assume that their introduction has 
been in accordance with a law or plan of creation, 
and that this may have included the co-operation oi 
many efficient causes, and may have differed in its 
application to different cases. This is a very old 
doctrine of theology, for it appears in the early 
chapters of Genesis. There the first aquatic animals, 
and man, are said to have been " created ;" plants 
are said to have been " brought forth by the land;" 
the mammalia are said to have been "made." In 
the more detailed account of the introduction of 
man in the second chapter of the same book, he 
is said to have been "formed of the dust of the 
ground;" and in regard to his higher spiritual life, 
to have had this " breathed into " him by God. These 
are very simple expressions, but they are very precise 
and definite in the original, and they imply a diversity 
in the creative work. Further, this is in accordance 
with the analogy of modern science. How diverse 
are the modes of production and development of 
animals and plants, though all under one general law ; 
and is it not likely that the modes of their first' 
introduction on the earth were equally diverse ? 

4. Our knowledge of the conditions of the origina- 
tion of species, is so imperfect that we may possibly 
appear for some time to recede from, rather than 
to approach to, a solution of the question. In the 
infancy of chemistry, it was thought that chemical 
elements could be transmuted into each other. The 


progress of knowledge removed this explanation of 
their origin, and has as yet failed to substitute any 
other in its place. It may be the same with organic 
species. The attempt to account for them by derivation 
may prove fallacious, yet it may bo some time before 
we turn the corner, should this be possible, and enter 
the path which actually leads up to their origin. 

Lastly, in these circumstances our wisest course 
is to take individual species, and to inquire as to 
their history in time, and the probable conditions of 
their introduction. Such investigations are now being 
made by many quiet workers, whose labours are 
comparatively little known, and many of whom 
are scarcely aware of the importance of what they are 
doing toward a knowledge of, at least, the conditions 
of creation, which is perhaps all that we can at present 
hope to reach. 

In the next chapter we shall try to sum up what 
is known as to man himself, in the conditions of 
his first appearance on our earth, as made known 
to us by scientific investigation, and explained on 
the theory of creation as op posed to evolution. 



IN the previous chapter we have seen that, on general 
grounds, evolution as applied to man is untenable ; 
and that the theory of creation is more rational and 
less liable to objection. We may now consider how 
the geological and zoological conditions of man's 
advent on the earth accord with evolution; and I 
think we shall find, as might be expected, that they 
oppose great if not fatal difficulties to this hypothesis. 

One of the first and most important facts with 
reference to the appearance of man, is that he is 
a very recent animal, dating no farther back in 
geological time than the Post-glacial period, at the 
close of the Tertiary and beginning of the Modern 
era of geology. Further, inasmuch as the oldest 
known remains of man occur along with those, of 
animals which still exist, and the majority of which are 
probably not of older date, there is but slender proba- 
bility that any much older human remains will ever 
be found. Now this has a bearing on the question 
of the derivation of man, which, though it has not 
altogether escaped the attention of the evolutionists, 
has not met with sufficient consideration. 


Perhaps the oldest known human skull is that which 
has been termed the " Engis " skull, from the cave 
of Engis, in Belgium. With reference to this skull, 
Professor Huxley has candidly admitted that it may 
have belonged to an individual of one of the existing 
races of men. I have a cast of it on the same shelf 
with the skulls of some Algonquin Indians, from 
the aboriginal Hochelaga, which preceded Montreal: 
and any one acquainted with cranial characters would 
readily admit that the ancient Belgian may very 
well have been an American Indian ; while on the 
other hand his head is not very dissimilar from that 
of some modern European races. This Belgian man 
is believed to have lived before the mammoth and 
the cave-bear had passed away, yet he does not belong 
to an extinct species or even variety of man. 

Further, as stated in a previous chapter, Pictet 
catalogues ninety-eight species of mammals which 
inhabited Europe in the Post-glacial period. Of these 
fifty-seven still exist unchanged, and the remainder 
have disappeared. Nofc one can be shown to have 
been modified into a new form, though some of 
them have been obliged, by changes of temperature 
and other conditions, to remove into distant and 
now widely separated regions. Further, it would 
seem that all the existing European mammals ex- 
tended back in geological time at least as far 
as man, so that since the Post-glacial period no new 
species have been introduced in any way. Here 
we have a series of facts of the most profound signifi- 


cance. Fifty-seven parallel lines of descent have in 
Europe run on along with man, from the Post-glacial 
period, without change or material modification of any 
kind. Some of them extend without change even 
farther back. Thus man and his companion-mammals 
present a series of lines, not converging as if they 
pointed to some common progenitor, but strictly 
parallel to each other. In other words, if they are 
derived forms, their point of derivation from a common 
type is pushed back infinitely in geological time. The 
absolute duration of the human species does not affect 
this argument. If man has existed only six or seven 
thousand years, still at the beginning of his existence 
he was as distinct from lower animals as he is now, 
and shows no signs of gradation into other forms. 
If he has really endured since the great Glacial period, 
and is to be regarded as a species of a hundred thou- 
sand years' continuance, still the fact is the same, and 
is, if possible, less favourable to derivation. 

bimilar facts meet us in other directions. I have 
for many years occupied a little of my leisure in 
collecting the numerous species of molluscs and other 
marine animals existing in a sub -fossil state in the 
Post-pliocene clays of Canada, and comparing them 
with their modern successors. I do not know how 
long these animals have lived. Some of them certainly 
go far back into the Tertiary; and recent computations 
would place even the Glacial age at a distance from us 
of more than a thousand centuries. Yet after carefully 
studying about two hundred species, and, of some 


of these, many hundreds of specimens, I have arrived 
at the conclusion that they are absolutely unchanged. 
Some of them, it is true, are variable shells, presenting 
as many and great varieties as the human race itself; 
yet I find that in the Post-pliocene even the varieties 
of each species were the same as now, though the 
great changes of temperature and elevation which have 
occurred, have removed many of them to distant places, 
and have made them become locally extinct in regions 
over which they once spread. Here again we have an 
absolute refusal, on the part of all these animals, to 
admit that they are derived, or have tended to sport 
into new species. This is also, it is to be observed, 
altogether independent of that imperfection of the 
geological record of which so much is made ; since we 
have abundance of these shells in the Post-pliocene 
beds, and in the modern seas, and no one doubts 
their continued descent. To what does this point? 
Evidently to the conclusion that all these species show 
no indication of derivation, or tendency to improve, 
but move back in parallel lines to some unknown 
creative origin. 

If it be objected to this conclusion that absence 
of derivation in the Post-pliocene and Modern does 
not prove that it may not previously have occurred, 
the answer is, that if the evolutionist admits that 
for a very long period (and this the only one of which 
we have any certain knowledge, and the only one 
which concerns man) derivation has been suspended, 
he in effect abandons his position. It may, however, 


be objected that what I have above affirmed of species 
may be affirmed of varieties, which are admitted to 
be derived. For example, it may be said that the 
negro variety of man has existed unchanged from 
the earliest historic times. It is curious that those 
who so often urge this argument as an evidence of the 
great antiquity of man, and the slow development 
of races, do not see that it proves too much. If 
the negro has been the same identical negro as far 
back as we can trace him, then his origin must 
have been independent, and of the nature of a creation, 
or else his duration as a negro must have been in- 
definite. What it does prove is a fact equally obvious 
from the study of Post-pliocene molluscs and other 
fossils, namely, that new species tend rapidly to vary to 
the utmost extent of their possible limits, and then 
to remain stationary for an indefinite time. Whether 
this results from an innate yet limited power of expan- 
sion in the species, or from the relations between 
it and external influences, it is a fact inconsistent 
with the gradual evolution of new species. Hence 
we conclude that the recent origin of man, as revealed 
by geology, is, in connection with the above facts, an 
absolute bar to the doctrine of derivation. 

A second datum furnished to this discussion by 
geology and zoology is the negative one that no 
link of connection is known between man and any 
preceding animal. If we gather his bones and his 
implements from the ancient gravel-beds and cave- 
earths, we do not find them associated with any 


creature near of kin, nor do ve find any such creature 
in those rich Tertiary beds which have yielded so 
great harvests of mammalian bones. In the modern 
world we find nothing nearer to him than such anthro- 
poid apes as the orangs and gorillas. But the apes, 
however nearly allied, cannot be the ancestors of man. 
If at all related to him by descent, they are his 
brethren or cousins, not his parents ; for they must, on 
the evolutionist hypothesis, be themselves the terminal 
ends of distinct lines of derivation from previous 

This difficulty is not removed by an appeal to the 
imperfection of the geological record. So many 
animals contemporary with man are known, both at 
the beginning of his geological history and in the 
present world, that it would be more than marvellous 
if no very near relative had ere this time been dis- 
covered at one extreme or the other, or at some 
portion of the intervening ages. Further, all the 
animals contemporary with man in the Post-glacial 
period, so far as is known, are in the same case. 
Discoveries of this kind may, however, still be made, 
and we may give the evolutionist the benefit of the 
possibility. We may affirm, however, that in order 
to gain a substratum of fact for his doctrine, he must 
find somewhere in the later Tertiary period animals 
much nearer to man than are the present anthropoid 

This demand I make advisedly first, because the 
animals in question must precede man in geological 


time; and secondly, because the apes, even if they 
preceded man, instead of being contemporary with 
him, are not near enough to fulfil the required con- 
ditions. What is the actual fact with regard to these 
animals, so confidently affirmed to resemble some 
not very remote ancestors of ours ? Zoologically they 
are not varieties of the same species with man they are 
not species of the same genus, nor do they belong 
to genera of the same family, or even to families of the 
same order. These animals are at least ordinally 
distinct from us in those grades of groups in which 
naturalists arrange animals. I am well aware that 
an attempt has been made to group man, apes, and 
lemurs in one order of " Primates," and thus to reduce 
their difference to the grade of the family; but as 
put by its latest and perhaps most able advocate, 
the attempt is a decided failure. One has only to read 
the concluding chapter of Huxley's new book on the 
anatomy of the vertebrates to be persuaded of this, 
more especially if we can take into consideration, in 
addition to the many differences indicated, others 
which exist but are not mentioned by the author. 
Ordinal distinctions among animals are mainly de- 
pendent on grade or rank, and are not to be broken 
down by obscure resemblances of internal anatomy, 
having no relation to this point, but to physiological 
features of very secondary importance. Man must, on 
all grounds, rank much higher above the apes than 
they can do above any other order of mammals. 
Even if we refuse to recognise all higher grounds 


of classification, and condescend, with some great 
zoologists of our time, to regard nature with the eyes 
of mere anatomists, or in the same way that a brick- 
layer's apprentice may be supposed to regard distinc- 
tions of architectural styles, we can arrive at no other 
conclusion. Let us imagine an anatomist, himself 
neither a man nor a monkey, but a being of some 
other grade, and altogether ignorant of the higher 
ends and powers of our species, to contemplate merely 
the skeleton of a man and that of an ape. He 
must necessarily deduce therefrom an ordinal distinc- 
tion, even on the one ground of the correlations and 
modifications of structure implied in the erect position. 
It would indeed be sufficient for this purpose to 
consider merely the balancing of the skull on the neck, 
or the structure of the foot, and the consequences 
fairly deducible from either of them. Nay, were such 
imaginary anatomist a derivationist, and ignorant of 
the geological date of his specimens, and as careless 
of the differences in respect to brain as some of his 
human confreres, he might, referring to the less 
specialised condition of man's teeth and foot, conclude, 
not that man is an improved ape, but that the ape 
is a specialised and improved man. He would be 
obliged, however, even on this hypothesis, to admit that 
there must be a host of missing links. Nor would 
these be supplied by the study of the living races of 
men, because these want even specific distinctness, 
and differ from the apes essentially in those points on 
which an ordinal distinction can be fairly based. 


This isolated position of man throughout the whole 
period of his history, grows in importance the more 
that it is studied, and can scarcely be the result of 
any accident of defective preservation of intermediate 
forms. In the meantime, when taken in connection 
with, the fact previously stated, that man is equally 
isolated when he first appears on the stage, it deprives 
evolution, as applied to our species, of any precise 
scientific basis, whether zoological or geological. 

I do not attach any importance whatever, in this 
connection, to the likeness in type or plan between 
man and other mammals. Evolutionists are in the 
habit of taking for granted that this implies derivation, 
and of reasoning as if the fact that the human skeleton 
is constructed on the same principles as that of an 
ape or a dog, must have some connection with a 
common ancestry of these animals. This is, however, 
as is usual with them, begging the question. Creation, 
as well as evolution, admits of similai'ity of plan. 
When Stephenson constructed a locomotive, he availed 
himself of the principles and of many of the con- 
trivances of previous engines ; but this does not imply 
that he took a mine-engine, or a marine-engine, and 
converted it into a railroad-engine. Type or plan, 
whether in nature or art, may imply merely a mental 
evolution of ideas in the maker, not a derivation of 
one object from another. 

But while man is related in his type of structure to 
the higher animals, his contemporaries, it is unde- 
niable that there are certain points in which he con- 


stitutes a new type; and if this consideration were 
properly weighed, I believe it would induce zoolo- 
gists, notwithstanding the proverbial humility of the 
true man of science, to consider themselves much 
more widely separated from the brutes than even by 
the ordinal distinction above referred to. I would 
state this view of the matter thus : It is in the 
lower animals a law that the bodily frame is provided 
with all necessary means of defence and attack, and 
with all necessary protection against external influ- 
ences and assailants. In a very few cases, we have 
partial exceptions to this. A hermit-crab, for in- 
stance, has the hinder part of its body unprotected; 
and has, instead of armour, the instinct of using the 
cast-off shells of molluscs; yet even this animal has 
the usual strong claws of a crustacean, for defence 
in front. There are only a very few animals in which 
instinct thus takes the place of physical contrivances 
for defence or attack, and in these we find merely 
the usual unvarying instincts of the irrational animal. 
But in man, that which is the rare exception in all 
other animals, becomes the rule. He has no means 
of escape from danger, compared with those enjoyed 
by other animals no defensive armour, no natural 
protection from cold or heat, no effective weapons 
for attacking other animals. These disabilities would 
make him the most helpless of creatures, especially 
when taken in connection with his slow growth and 
long immaturity. His safety and his dominion over 
other animals, are secured bv entirely new means, 


constituting a " new departure " in creation. Contii- 
vance and inventive power, enabling him to utilise 
the objects and forces of nature, replace in him the 
material powers bestowed on lower animals. Obvi- 
ously the structure of the human being is related to 
this, and so related to it as to place man in a different 
category altogether from any other animal. 

This consideration makes the derivation of man 
from brutes difficult to imagine. None of these 
latter appear even able to conceive or understand 
the modes of life and action of man. They do not 
need to attempt to emulate his powers, for they are 
themselves provided for in a different manner. They 
have no progressive nature like that of man. Their 
relations to things without are altogether limited to 
their structures and instincts. Man's relations are 
limited only by his powers of knowing and under- 
standing. How then is it possible to conceive of an 
animal which is, so to speak, a mere living machine, 
parting with the physical contrivances necessary to 
its existence, and assuming the new role of intelligence 
and free action ? 

This becomes still more striking if we adopt the 
view usually taken by evolutionists, that primitive 
man was a ferocious and carnivorous creature, warring 
with and overcoming the powerful animals of the Post- 
glacial period, and contending with the rigours of a 
severe climate. This could certainly not be inferred 
from his structure, interpreted by that of the lower 
animals, which would inevitably lead to the conclusion 


that he must have been a harmless and frugivorous 
creature, fitted to subsist only in the mildest climates 
and where exempt from the attacks of the more 
powerful carnivorous animals. No one reasoning on 
the purely physical constitution of man, could infer 
that he might be a creature more powerful and 
ferocious than the lion or the tiger. 

It is also worthy of mention that the existence of 
primitive man as a savage hunter is, in another point 
of view, absolutely opposed to the Darwinian idea of 
his origin from a frugivorous ape. These creatures, 
while comparatively inoffensive, conform to the general 
law of lower animals in having strong jaws and power- 
ful, canines for defence, hand -like feet to aid them in 
securing food, and escaping from their enemies, and 
hairy clothing to protect them from cold and heat. 
On the hypothesis of evolution we might conceive 
that if these creatures were placed in some Eden of 
genial warmth, peace, and plenty, which rendered 
those appliances unnecessary, they might gradually 
lose these now valuable structures, from want of 
necessity to use them. But, on the contrary, if sucli 
creatures were obliged to contend against powerful 
enemies, and to feed on flesh, all analogy would lead 
us to believe that they would become in their struc- 
tures more like carnivorous beasts than men. On 
the other hand, the anthropoid apes, in the circum- 
stances in which we find them, are not only as un- 
progressive as other animals, but little fitted to extend 
their range, and less gifted with the power of adapt- 


ing themselves to new conditions than many other 
mammals less resembling man in external form. 

On the Darwinian theory, such primitive men as 
geology reveals to us would be more likely to have 
originated from bears than, apes, and we would be 
oempted to wish that man should become extinct, and 
that the chance should be given to the mild chim- 
panzee or orang to produce by natural selection an 
improved and less ferocious humanity for the future. 

The only rational hypothesis of human origin in the 
present state of our knowledge of this subject is, that 
man must have been produced under some circum- 
stances in which animal food was not necessary to 
him, in which he was exempt from the attacks of 
the more formidable animals, and in less need of pro- 
tection from the inclemency of the weather than is 
the case with any modern apes ; and that his life as a 
hunter and warrior began after he had by his know- 
ledge and skill secured to himself the means of sub- 
duing nature by force and cunning. This implies 
that man was from the first a rational being, capable 
of understanding nature, and it accords much more 
nearly with the old story of Eden in the book of 
Genesis, than with any modern theories of evolution. 

It is due to Mr. Wallace who, next to Darwin, 
has been a leader among English derivationists to 
state that he perceives this difficulty. As a believer 
in natural selection, however, it presents itself to his 
jnin.d in a peculiar form. He perceives that so soon 
as, by the process of evolution, man became a rational 


creature, and acquired Ms social sympathies, physical 
evolution must cease, and must be replaced by inven- 
tion, contrivance, and social organisation. This is at 
once obvious and undeniable, and it follows that the 
natural selection applicable to man, as man, must 
relate purely to his mental and moral improvement. 
Wallace, however, fails to comprehend the full sig- 
nificance of this feature of the case. Given, a man 
destitute of clothing, he may never acquire such 
clothing by natural selection, because he will provide 
an artificial substitute. He will evolve not into a 
hairy animal, but into a weaver and a tailor. Given, 
a man destitute of claws and fangs, he will not ac- 
quire these, but will manufacture weapons. But then, 
on the hypothesis of derivation, this is not what is 
given us as the raw material of man, but instead of 
this a hairy ape. Admitting the power of natural 
selection, we might understand how this ape could 
become more hairy, or acquire more formidable 
weapons, as it became more exposed to cold, or more 
under the necessity of using animal food; but that 
it should of itself leave this natural line of develop- 
ment and enter on the entirely different line of mental 
progress is not conceivable, except as a result of creative 

Absolute materialists may make light of this diffi- 
culty, and may hold that this would imply merely a 
change of brain; but even if we admit this, they 
fail to show of what use such better brain would 
be to a creature retaining the bodily form and in- 

2 B 


stincts of the ape, or how such better brain could 
be acquired. But evolutionists are not necessarily 
absolute materialists, and Darwin himself labours to 
show that the reasoning self-conscious mind, and even 
the moral sentiments of man, might be evolved from 
rudiments of such powers, perceptible in the lower 
animals. Here, however, he leaves the court of 
natural science, properly so called, and summons us to 
appear before the judgment-seat of philosophy ; and as 
naturalists are often bad mental philosophers, and phi- 
losophers have often small knowledge of nature, some 
advantage results, in the first instance, to the doubtful 
cause of evolution. Since, however, mental science 
makes much more of the distinctions between the 
mind of man and the instinct of animals than natu- 
ralists, accustomed to deal merely with the external 
organism, can be expected to do, the derivationist, 
when his plea is fairly understood, is quite as certain 
to lose his cause as when tried by geology and 
zoology. He might indeed be left to be dealt 
with by mental science on its own ground; and as 
our province is to look at the matter from the stand- 
point of natural history, we might here close our 
inquiry. It may, however, be proper to give some 
slight notion of the width of the gulf to bo passed 
when we suppose the mechanical, unconscious, repeti- 
tive nature of the animal to pass over into the con- 
dition of an intellectual and moral being. 

If we take, as the most favourable case for the 
evolutionist, the most sagacious of the lower animals 


the dog, for example and compare it with the 
least elevated condition of the human mind, as ob- 
served in the child or the savage, we shall find that 
even here there is something more than that "im- 
mense difference in degree/' which Darwin himself 
admits. Making every allowance for similarities in 
external sense, in certain instinctive powers and appe- 
tites ; and even in the power of comparison, and in 
certain passions and affections ; and admitting, though 
we cannot be quite certain of this, that in these man 
differs from animals only in degree; there remain 
other and more important differences, amounting to 
the possession, on the part of man, of powers not 
existing at all in animals. Of this kind are first, 
the faculty of reaching abstract and general truth, 
and consequently of reasoning, in the proper sense 
of the term; secondly, in connection with this, the 
power of indefinite increase in knowledge, and in 
deductions therefrom leading to practical results; 
thirdly, the power of expressing thought in speech ; 
fourthly, the power of arriving at ideas of right and 
wrong, and thus becoming a responsible and free 
agent. Lastly, we have the conception of higher spi- 
ritual intelligence, of supreme power and divinity, and 
the consequent feeling of religious obligation. These 
powers are evidently different in kind, rather than in 
degree, from those of the brute, and cannot be con- 
ceived to have arisen from the latter, more especially 
as one of the distinctive characters of these is their 
purely cyclical, repetitive, and unprogressive nature. 


Sir John Lubbock has, by a great accumulation of 
facts, or supposed facts, bearing on the low mental 
condition of savages, endeavoured to bridge over this 
chasm. It is obvious, however, from his own data, 
that the rudest savages are enabled to subsist only 
by the exercise of intellectual gifts far higher than 
those of animals; and that if these gifts were 
removed from them, they would inevitably perish. 
It is equally clear that even the lowest savages are 
moral agents; and that not merely in their religious 
beliefs and conceptions of good and evil, but also 
in their moral degradation, they show capacities not 
possessed by the brutes. It is also true that most 
of these savages are quite as little likely to be speci- 
mens of primitive man as are the higher races ; and 
that many of them have fallen to so low a level as 
to be scarcely capable, of themselves, of rising to a 
condition of culture and civilisation. Thus they are 
more likely to be degraded races, in " the eddy and 
backwater of humanity," than examples of the 
sources from whence it flowed. And here it must 
not be lost sight of, that a being like man has 
capacities for degradation commensurate with his 
capacities for improvement ; and that at any point of 
his history we may have to seek the analogues of 
primeval man, rather in the average, than the extremes 
of the race. 

Before leaving this subject, it may be well to con- 
sider the fact, that the occurrence of such a being as 
man in the last stages of the world's history is, in 


itself, an argument for the existence of a Supreme 
Creator. Man is himself an image and likeness of 
God ; and the fact that he can establish relations with 
nature around him, so as to understand and control 
its powers, implies either that he has been evolved as 
a soul of nature, by its own blind development, or 
that he has originated in the action of a higher being 
related to man. The former supposition has been 
above shown to be altogether improbable ; so that we 
are necessarily thrown back upon the latter. We 
must thus regard man himself as the highest known 
work of a spiritual creator, and must infer that he 
rightly uses his reason when he infers from nature 
the power and divinity of God. 

The last point that I think necessary to bring for- 
ward here, is the information which geology gives as 
to the locality of the introduction of man. There caa 
be no hesitation- in affirming that to the temperate 
regions of the old continent belongs the honour of 
being the cradle of humanity. In these regions are 
the oldest historical monuments of our race; here 
geology finds the most ancient remains of human 
beings ; here also seems to be the birthplace of the 
fauna and flora most useful and congenial to man; 
and here he attains to his highest pitch of mental 
and physical development. This, it is true, by no 
means accords with the methods of the dcrivationists. 
On their theory we should search for the origin of 
man rather in those regions where he is most de- 
pauperated and degraded, and where his struggles 


for existence are most severe. But it is surely 
absurd to affirm of any species of animal or plant 
that it must have originated at the limits of its 
range, where it can scarcely exist at all. On the 
contrary, common sense as well as science requires 
us to believe that species must have originated in 
those central parts of their distribution where they 
enjoy the most favourable circumstances, and must 
have extended themselves thence as far as external 
conditions would permit. One of the most wretched 
varieties of the human race, and as near as any to 
the brutes, is that which inhabits Tierra del Fuego, 
a country which scarcely affords any of the means 
for the comfortable sustenance of man. Would it 
not be absolutely impossible that man should have 
originated in such a country ? Is it not certain, on 
the contrary, that the Fuegian is merely a degraded 
variety of the aboriginal American race ? Precisely 
the same argument applies to the Austral negro and 
the Hottentot. They are all naturally the most 
aberrant varieties of man, as being at the extreme 
range of his possible extension, and placed in con- 
ditions unfavourable, either because of unsuitable 
climatal or organic associations. It is true that the 
regions most favourable to the anthropoid apes, and 
in which they may be presumed to have originated, 
are by DO means the most favourable to man; but 
this only makes it the less likely that man could 
have been derived from such a parentage. 

While, therefore, the geological date of the appear- 


ance of man, the want of any link of connection be- 
tween him and any preceding animal, and his dis- 
similar bodily and mental constitution from any crea- 
tures contemporary with him, render his derivation 
from apes or other inferior animals in the highest 
degree improbable, the locality of his probable origin 
confirms this conclusion in the strongest manner. It 
also shows that man and the higher apes are not 
likely to have originated in the same regions, or 
under the same conditions, and that the conditions 
of human origin are rather the coincidence of suitable 
climatal and organic surroundings than the occurrence 
of animals closely related in structure to man. 

Changes of conditions in geological time will not 
meet this difficulty. They might lead to migrations, 
as they have done in the case of both plants and 
animals, but not to anything further. The hyena, 
whose bones are found in the English caves, has 
been driven by geological changes to South Africa, 
but he is still the same hyena. The reindeer which 
once roamed in France is still the reindeer in Lap- 
land ; and though under different geological con- 
ditions we might imagine the creature to have origi- 
nated in the south of Europe, a country not now 
suitable to it, this would neither give reason to 
believe that any animal now living in the south of 
Europe was its progenitor, nor to doubt that it still 
remains unchanged in its new habitat. Indeed, the 
absence of anything more than merely varietal 
change in man and his companion-animals, in con- 


sequence of the geological changes and migrations 
of the Modern period, furnishes, as already stated, 
a strong if not conclusive argument against deriva- 
tion ; which here, as elsewhere, only increases our 
actual difficulties, while professing to extricate us 
from them. 

The arguments in the preceding pages cover only 
a small portion of the extensive field opened up by 
this subject. They relate, however, to some of tho 
prominent and important points, and I trust are 
sufficient to show that, as applied to man, the theory 
of derivation merely trifles with the great questior 
of his origin, without approaching to its solution. 
I may now, in conclusion, sketch the leading fea- 
tures of primitive man, as he appears to us through 
the mist of the intervening ages, and compare the 
picture with that presented by the oldest historical 
records of our race. 

Two pictures of primeval man are in our time 
before the world. One represents him as the pure 
and happy inhabitant of an Eden, free from all the 
ills that have afflicted his descendants, and revelling 
in the bliss of a golden age. This is the representa- 
tion of Holy Scripture, and it is also the dream of 
all the poetry and myth of the earlier ages of the 
world. It is a beautiful picture, whether we regard 
it as founded on historical fact, or derived from God 
Himself, or from the yearnings of the higher spiritual 
nature of man. The other picture is a joint product 


of modern philosophy and of antiqimriau research. 
It presents to us a coarse and filthy savage, repulsive 
in feature, gross in habits, warring with his fellow- 
savages, and warring yet more remorselessly with 
every living thing he could destroy, tearing half- 
cooked flesh, and cracking marrow-bones with stone 
hammers, sheltering himself in damp and smoky 
caves, with no eye heavenward, and with only the 
first rude beginnings of the most important arts of 

Both pictures may contain elements of truth, for 
man is a many-sided monster, made up of things 
apparently incongruous, and presenting here and 
there features out of which either picture may be 
composed. Evolutionists, and especially those who 
believe in the struggle for existence and natural 
selection, ignore altogether the evidence of the golden 
age of humanity,- and refer us to the rudest of modern 
savages as the types of primitive man. Those who 
believe in a Divine origin for our race, perhaps dwell 
too much on the higher spiritual features of the 
Edenic state, to the exclusion of its more practical 
aspects, and its relations to the condition of the more 
barbarous races. Let us examine more closely both 
representations ; and first, that of creation. 

The Glacial period, with its snows and ice, had 
passed away, and the world rejoiced in a spring-time 
of renewed verdure and beauty. Many great and 
formidable beasts of the Tertiary time had disap- 
peared in the revolutions which had occurred, and 


the existing fauna of the northern hemisphere had 
been established on the land. Then it was that man 
was introduced by an act of creative power. In the 
preceding changes a region of Western Asia had 
been prepared for his residence. It was probably at 
the confluence of the rivers that flow into the 
Euphrates at the head of the Persian Gulf.* Its 
climate was healthy and bracing, with enough of 
variety to secure vigour, and not so inclement as to 
exact any artificial provision for clothing or shelter. 
Its flora afforded abundance of edible fruits, and was 
rich in all the more beautiful forms of plnnt life ; 
while its clear streams, alluvial soil and undulating 
surface, afforded every variety of station and all that 
is beautiful in scenery. It was not infested with the 
more powerful and predaceous quadrupeds, and its 
geographical relations were such as to render this 
exemption permanent. In this paradise man found 
ample supplies of wholesome and nutritious food. 
His requirements as to shelter were met by the 
leafy bowers he could weave. The streams of Eden 
afforded gold which he could fashion for use and 
ornament, pearly shells for vessels, and stone for his 
few and simple cutting instruments He required 
no clothing, and knew of no use for it. His body 
was the perfection and archetype of the vertebrate 
form, full of grace, vigour, and agility. His hands 
enabled him to avail himself of all the products of 
nature for use and pleasure, and to modify and adapt 
them according to his inclination. His intelligence 
* See Note, p. 397. 


along with his manual powers, allowed him to ascer- 
tain the properties of things, to plan, invent, and 
apply in a manner impossible to any other creature. 
His gift of speech enabled him to imitate and reduce 
to systematic language the sounds of nature, and to 
connect them with the thoughts arising in his own 
mind, and thus to express their relations and signifi- 
cance. Above all, his Maker had breathed into him 
a spiritual nature akin to His own, whereby he 
became different from all other animals, and the 
very shadow and likeness of Godj capable of rising 
to abstractions and general conceptions of truth and 
goodness, and of holding communion with his Creator. 
This was man Edenic, the man of the golden age, as 
sketched in the two short narratives of the earlier 
part of Genesis, which not only conform to the general 
traditions of our race on the subject, but bear to any 
naturalist who will read them in their original dress, 
internal evidence of being contemporary, or very 
nearly so, with the state of things to which they 

" And God said, ' Let us make man in our image, after our 
likeness ; and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over 
the birds of the air, and over the herbivora, and over all the 
land.' And God blessed them, and said unto them, ' Be fruit- 
ful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.' 

" And the Lord God formed the man of the dust of the 
ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and 
man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a 
garden, eastward in Eden, and there He placed the man whom 
He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God 
to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good fur 


food. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and 
parted from thence, becoming four heads (of great rivers). 
The name of the first is Pison, compassing the whole land of 
Chavila, where there is gold, and the gold of that land is 
good ; there is (also) pearl and agate. . . . And the Lord 
God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to 
cultivate it and to take care of it." 

Before leaving this most ancient and most beautiful 
history, we may say that it implies several things of 
much importance to our conceptions of primeval man. 
It implies a centre of creation for man, and a group of 
companion animals and plants, and an intention to 
dispense in his case with any struggle for existence. 
It implies, also, that man was not to be a lazy savage, 
but a care-taker and utiliser, by his mind and his 
bodily labour, of the things given to him ; and it also 
implies an intelligent submission on his part to his 
Maker, and spiritual appreciation of His plans and in- 
tentions. It further implies that man was, in process 
of time, from Eden, to colonise the earth, and subdue 
its wildness, so as to extend the conditions of Eden 
widely over its surface. Lastly, a part of the record 
not quoted above, but necessary to the consistency of 
the story, implies that, in virtue of his spiritual nature, 
and on certain conditions, man, though in bodily frame 
of the earth earthy, like the other animals, was to be 
exempted from the common law of mortality which 
had all along prevailed, and which continued to prevail, 
even among the animals of Eden. Further, if man fell 
from this condition into that of the savage of the age 
of stone, it must have been by the obscuration of his 


spiritual nature under that which is merely animal ; in 
other words, by his ceasing to be spiritual and in com- 
munion with God, and becoming practically a sensual 
materialist. That this actually happened is asserted by 
the Scriptural story, but its details would take us too 
far from our present subject. Let us now turn to the 
other picture that presented by the theory of strug- 
gle for existence and derivation from lower animals. 

It introduces us first to an ape, akin perhaps to the 
modern orang or gorilla, but unknown to us as yet by 
any actual remains. This creature, after living for an 
indefinite time in the rich forests of the Miocene and 
earlier Pliocene periods, was at length subjected to the 
gradually increasing rigours of the Glacial age. Its 
vegetable food and its leafy shelter failed it, and it 
learned to nestle among such litter as it could collect 
in dens and caves, and to seize and devour such weaker 
animals as it could overtake and master. At the same 
time, its lower extremities, no longer used for climbing 
trees, but for walking on the ground, gained in 
strength and size; its arms diminished; and ite 
development to maturity being delayed by the in- 
tensity of the struggle for existence, its brain en- 
larged, it became more cunning and sagacious, and 
even learned to use weapons of wood or stone to 
destroy its victims. So it gradually grew into a fierce 
and terrible creature, " neither beast nor human," 
combining the habits of a bear and the agility of a 
monkey with some glimmerings of the cunning and 
resources of a savage. 


When the Glacial period passed away, our nameless 
simian man, or manlike ape, might naturally be sup- 
posed to revert to its original condition, and to estab- 
lish itself as of old in the new forests of the Modern 
period. For some unknown reason, however, perhaps 
because it had gone too far in the path of improve- 
ment to be able to turn back, this reversion did not 
take place. On the contrary, the ameliorated circum- 
stances and wider range of the new continents enabled 
it still further to improve. Ease and abundance per- 
fected what struggle and privation had begun ; it 
added to the rude arts of the Glacial time ; it parted 
with the shaggy hair now unnecessary; its features 
became softer; and it returned in part to vegetable 
food. Language sprang up from the attempt to arti- 
culate natural sounds. Fire-making was invented and 
new arts arose. At length the spiritual nature, poten- 
tially present in the creature, was awakened by some 
access of fear, or some grand and terrible physical 
phenomenon ; the idea of a higher intelligence was 
struck out, and the descendant of apes became a 
superstitious and idolatrous savage. How much 
trouble and discussion would have been saved, had 
he been aware of his humble origin, and never enter- 
tained the vain imagination that he was a child of 
God, rather than a mere product of physical evolution ! 
It is, indeed, curious, that at this point evolutionism, 
like theism, has its " fall of man ;" for surely the 
awakening of the religious sense, and of the know- 
ledge of good and evil, must on that theory be so 


designated, since it subverted in the case of man the 
previous regular operation of natural selection, and 
introduced all that debasing superstition, priestly 
domination, and religious controversy which have 
been among the chief curses of our race, and which 
are doubly accursed if, as the evolutionist believes, 
they are not the ruins of something nobler and holier, 
but the mere gratuitous, vain, and useless imaginings 
of a creature who should have been content to eat and 
drink and die, without hope or fear, like the brutes 
from which he sprang. 

These are at present our alternative sketches : the 
genesis of theism, and the genesis of evolution. After 
the argument in previous pages, it is unnecessary 
here to discuss their relative degrees of probability. 
If we believe in a personal spiritual Creator, the first 
becomes easy and natural, as it is also that which best 
accords with history and tradition. If, on the con- 
trary, we reject all these, and accept as natural laws 
the postulates of the evolutionists which we have 
ilready discussed, we may become believers in the 
latter. The only remaining point is to inquire as to 
which explains best the actual facts of humanity as we 
find them. This is a view of which much has been 
made by evolutionists, and it therefore merits consider- 
ation. But it is too extensive to be fully treated of 
here, and I must content myself with a few illustra- 
tions of the failure of the theory of derivation to 
explain some of the most important features presented 
by even the ruder races of men. 


One of these is the belief in a future state of exist- 
ence beyond this life. This belongs purely to the 
spiritual nature of man. It is not taught by physical 
nature, yet its existence is probably universal, and it 
lies near the foundation of all religious beliefs. Lartet 
has described to us the sepulchral cave of Aurignac, 
in which human skeletons, believed to be of Post- 
glacial date, were associated with remains of funeral 
feasts, and with indications of careful burial, and with 
provisions laid up for the use of the dead. Lyell well 
remarks on this, " If we have here before us, at the 
northern base of the Pyrenees, a sepulchral vault with 
skeletons of human beings, consigned by friends and 
relatives to their last resting-place if we have also at 
the portal of the tomb the relics of funeral feasts, and 
within it indications of viands destined for the use of 
the departed on their way to a land of spirits ; while 
among the funeral gifts are weapons wherewith in 
other fields to chase the gigantic deer, the cave-lion, 
the cave-bear, and woolly rhinoceros we have at last 
succeeded in tracing back the sacred rites of burial, 
and more interesting still, a belief in a future state, to 
times long anterior to those of history and tradition. 
Rude and superstitious as may have been the savage of 
that remote era, he still deserved, by cherishing hopes 
of a hereafter, the epithet of ' noble/ which Dryden 
gave to what he seems to have pictured to himself as 
the primitive condition of our race." * 

In like manner, in the vast American continent, all 
* ' Antiquity of Man," p. 192. 


its long isolated and widely separated tribes, many of 
them in a state of lowest barbarism, and without any 
external ritual of religious worship, believed in happy 
hunting-grounds in the spirit-land beyond the grave, 
and the dead warrior was buried with his most useful 
weapons and precious ornaments. 

" Bring here the last gifts ; and with them 

The last lament be said. 
Let all that pleased and yet may please, 
Be buried with the dead " 

was no unmeaning funeral song, but involved the 
sacrifice of the most precious and prized objects, that 
the loved one might enter the new and untried state 
provided for its needs. Even the babe, whose life is 
usually accounted of so small value by savage tribes, 
was buried by the careful mother with precious 
strings of wampum, that had cost more months of 
patient labour than the days of its short life, that it 
might purchase the fostering care of the inhabitants 
of that unknown yet surely believed-in region of 
immortality. This 

" wish that of the living whole 

No life may fail beyond the grave, 
Derives it not from what we have 
The likest God within the soul ? " 

Is it likely to have germinated in the brain of an 
ape ? and if so, of what possible use would it be in 
the struggle of a merely physical existence ? Is it 
not rather the remnant of a better spiritual life a 
remembrance of the tree of life that grew in the 

2 c 


paradise of God, a link of connection of the spiritual 
nature in man with a higher Divine Spirit above ? 
Life and immortality, it is true, were brought to light 
by Jesus Christ, but they existed as beliefs more or 
less obscure from the first, and formed the basis for 
good and evil of the religions of the world. Around 
this idea were gathered multitudes of collateral be- 
liefs and religious observances ; feasts and festivals 
for the dead ; worship of dead heroes and ances- 
tors; priestly intercessions and sacrifices for the 
dead; costly rites of sepulture. Yain and without 
foundation many of these have no doubt been, but 
they have formed a universal and costly testimony to 
an instinct of immortality, dimly glimmering even in 
the breast of the savage, and glowing with higher 
brightness in the soul of the Christian, but separated 
by an impassable gulf from anything derivable from 
a brute ancestry. 

The theistic picture of primeval man is in har- 
mony with the fact that men, as a whole, are, and 
always have been, believers in God. The evolu- 
tionist picture is not. If man had from the first 
not merely a physical and intellectual nature, but a 
spiritual nature as well, we can understand how he 
came into relation with God, and how through all 
his vagaries and corruptions he clings to this relation 
in one form or another ; but evolution affords no link 
of connection of this kind. It holds God to be un- 
knowable even to the cultivated intellect of philosophy, 
and perceives no use in ideas with relation to Him, 


which according to it must necessarily be fallacious. 
It leaves the theistic notions of mankind without 
explanation, and it will not serve its purpose to assert 
that some few and exceptional families of men have 
no notion of a God. Even admitting this, and it is at 
best very doubtful, it can form but a trifling exception 
to a general truth. 

It appears to me that this view of the case is very 
clearly put in the Bible, and it is curiously illustrated 
by a recent critique of "Mr. Darwin's Critics," 
by Professor Huxley in the Contemporary Review. 
Mr. Mivart, himself a derivationist, but differing in 
some points from Darwin, had affirmed, in the spirit 
rather of a narrow theologian than of a Biblical 
student or philosopher, that " acts unaccompanied by 
mental acts of conscious will" are "absolutely des- 
titute of the most incipient degree of goodness/' 
Huxley well replies, " It is to my understanding 
extremely hard to reconcile Mr. Mivart's dictum with 
that noble summary of the whole duty of man, ' Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and 
with all thy soul, and with all thy strength; and 
thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' Accord- 
ing to Mr. Mivart's definition, the man who loves 
God and his neighbour, and, out of sheer love and 
affection for both, does all he can to please them, is 
nevertheless destitute of a particle of real goodness." 
Huxley's reply deserves to be pondered by certain 
moralists and theologians whose doctrine savours of 
the leaven of the Pharisees, but neither Huxley nor 


his opponent see the higher truth that in the love of 
God we have a principle far nobler and more God- 
like and less animal than that of mere duty. Man 
primeval, according to the doctrine of Genesis, was, 
by simple love and communion with his God, placed 
in the position of a spiritual being, a member of a 
iigher family than that of the animal. The " know- 
ledge of good and evil " which he acquired later, and 
on which is based the law of conscious duty, was a less 
happy attainment, which placed him on a lower level 
than that of the unconscious love and goodness of 
primal innocence. No doubt man's sense of right 
and wrong is something above the attainment of 
animals, and which could never have sprung from 
them ; but still more is this the case with his direct 
spiritual relation to God, which, whether it rises to 
the inspiration of the prophet or the piety of the 
Christian, or sinks to the rude superstition of the 
savage, can be no part of the Adam of the dust 
but only of the breath of life breathed into him from 

That man should love his fellow-man may not seem 
strange. Certain social and gregarious and family 
instincts exist among the lower animals, and Darwin 
very ably adduces these as akin to the similar affections 
of man ; yet even in the law of love of our neighbour, 
as enforced by Christ's teaching, it is easy to see that 
we have something beyond animal nature. But this 
becomes still more distinct in the love of God. Man 
was the " shadow and likeness of God," says the old 


record in Genesis the shadow that clings to the sub- 
stance and is inseparable from it, the likeness that 
represents it visibly to the eyes of men, and of the 
animals that man rules over. Primeval man could 
" hear in the evening breeze the voice of God, walking 
to and fro in the garden," What mere animal ever 
had or could attain to such an experience ? 

But if we turn from the Edenic picture of man in 
harmony with Heaven ft owning a father, when he 
owned a God " to man as the slave of superstition ; 
even in this terrible darkness of mistaken faith, of 
which it may be said, 

" Fear makes her devils, and weak faith her gods, 
Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust, 
Whose attributes are rage, revenge, or lust," 

we see the ruins, at least, of that sublime love of 
God. The animal clings to its young with a natural 
affection, as great as that of a human mother for her 
child, but what animal ever thought of throwing its 
progeny into the Ganges, or into the fires of Mo- 
loch's altar, for the saving of its soul, or to obtain the 
favour or avoid the wrath of God ? No less in the 
vagaries of fetichism, ritualism, and idolatry, and in 
the horrors of asceticism and human sacrifice, than in 
the Edenic communion with and hearing of God, or 
in the joy of Christian love, do we see, in however 
ruined or degraded condition, the higher spiritual 
nature of man. 

This point leads to another distinction which, when 
properly viewed, widens the gap between man and 


the animals, or at least destroys one of the frai\ 
bridges of the evolutionists. Lubbock and others 
affect to believe that the lowest savages of the modern 
world must be nearest to the type of primeval man. 
I have already attempted to show the fallacy of this. 
I may add here that in so holding they overlook a 
fundamental distinction, well pointed out by the Duke 
of Argyll, between the capacity of acquiring know- 
ledge and knowledge actually acquired, and between 
the possession of a higher rational nature and the 
exercise of that nature in the pursuit of mechanical 
arts. In other words, primeval man must not be held 
to have been "utterly barbarous" because he was 
ignorant of mining or navigation, or of sculpture and 
painting. He had in him the power to attain to these 
things, but so long as he was not under necessity to 
exercise it, his mind may have expended its powers in 
other and happier channels. As well might it be 
affirmed that a delicately nurtured lady is an " utter 
barbarian " because she cannot build her own house, 
or make her own shoes. No doubt in such work she 
would be far more helpless than the wife of the rudest 
savage, yet she is not on that account to be held as an 
inferior being, or nearer to the animals. Our con- 
ception of an angelic nature implies the absence of 
all our social institutions and mechanical arts ; but 
does this necessitate our regarding an angel as an 
"utter barbarian"? In short, the whole notion of 
civilisation held by Lubbock and those who think 
with him, is not only low and degrading, but utterly 


and absurdly wrong ; and of course it vitiates all their 
conceptions of primeval man as well as of man's 
future destiny. Further, the theistic idea implies that 
man was, without exhausting toil, to regulate and 
control nature, to rule over the animals, to cultivate 
the earth, to extend himself over it and subdue it ; and 
all this as compatible with moral innocence, and at 
the same time with high intellectual and spiritual 

There is, however, a still nicer and more beautiful 
distinction involved in this, and included in the won- 
derful narrative in Genesis, so simple yet so much 
more profound than our philosophies ; and which 
crops out in the same discussion of the critics of 
Darwin, to which I have already referred. A writer 
in the Quarterly Review had attempted to dis- 
tinguish human reason from the intelligence of 
animals, as involving self-consciousness and reflec- 
tion in our sensations and perceptions. Huxley 
objects to this, instancing the mental action of a 
greyhound when it sees and pursues a hare, as 
similar to that of the gamekeeper when he lets slip 
the hound.* 

"As it is very necessary to keep up a clear dis- 
tinction between these two processes, let the one be 
called neurosis and the other psychosis. When the 
gamekeeper was first trained to his work, every step 
in the process of neurosis was accompanied by a cor- 
responding step in that of psychosis, or nearly so. 
* Contemporary Eeview, November, 1871, p. 401. 


He was conscious of seeing something, conscious of 
making sure it was a hare, conscious of desiring to 
catch it, and therefore to loose the greyhound at the 
right time, conscious of the acts by which he let the 
dog out of the leash. But with practice, though the 
various steps of the neurosis remain for otherwise 
the impression on the retina would not result in the 
loosing of the dog the great majority of the steps 
of the psychosis vanish, and the loosing of the dog 
follows unconsciously, or, as we say, without think- 
ing about, upon the sight of the hare. No one will 
deny that the series of acts which originally inter- 
vened between the sensation and the letting go of 
the dog were, in the strictest sense, intellectual and 
rational operations. Do they cease to be so when 
the man ceases to be conscious of them ? That 
depends upon what is the essence and what the 
accident of these operations, which taken together 
constitute ratiocination. Now, ratiocination is re- 
ceivable into predication, and predication consists 
in marking, in some way, the existence, the co- 
existence, the succession, the likeness and unlike- 
ness, of things or their ideas. Whatever does this, 
reasons ; and if a machine produces the effects of 
reason, I see no more ground for denying to it the 
reasoning power because it is unconscious, than I see 
for refusing to Mr. Babbage's engine the title of a 
calculating machine on the same grounds." 

Here we have in the first place, the fact that an 
action, in the first instance rational and complex, be- 


comes by repetition simple and instinctive. Does 
the man then sink to the level of the hound, or, what 
is more to the purpose, does this in the least approach 
to showing that the hound can rise to the level of the 
man? Certainly not; for the man is the conscious 
planner and originator of a course of action in which 
the instincts of the brute are made to take part, and 
in which the readiness that he attains by habit only 
enables him to dispense with certain processes of 
thought which were absolutely necessary at first. 
The man and the beast co-operate, but they meet 
each other from entirely different planes; the former 
from that of the rational consideration of nature, the 
latter from that of the blind pursuit of a mere physical 
instinct. The one, to use Mr. Huxley's simile, is the 
conscious inventor of the calculating machine, the 
other is the machine itself, and, though the machine 
can calculate, this fact is the farthest possible from 
giving it the power of growing into or producing its 
own inventor. 'But Moses, or the more ancient autho- 
rity from whom he quotes in Genesis, knew this better 
than either of these modern combatants. His special 
distinctive mark of the superiority of man is that he 
was to have dominion over the earth and its animal 
inhabitants; and he represents this dominion as 
inaugurated by man's examining and naming the 
animals of Eden, and finding among them no "help 
meet" for him.* Man was to find in them helps, 
but helps under his control, and that not the control 
* Literally, " Corresponding," or " Similar," to him. 


of brute force, but of higher skill and of thought 
and even of love a control still seen in some degree 
in the relation of man to his faithful companion, the 
dog. These old words of Genesis, simple though 
they are, place the rational superiority of man on a 
stable basis, and imply a distinction between him and 
the lower animals which cannot be shaken by the 
sophistries of the evolutionists. 

The theistic picture further accords with the fact 
that the geological time immediately preceding man's 
appearance was a time of decadence of many of 
the grander forms of animal life, especially in that 
area of the old continent where man was to appear. 
Whatever may be said of the imperfection of the 
geological record, there can be no question of the 
fact that the Miocene and earlier Pliocene were dis- 
tinguished by the prevalence of grand and gigantic 
forms of mammalian life, some of which disappeared 
in or before the Glacial period, while others failed 
after that period in the subsidence of the Post-glacial, 
or in connection with its amelioration of climate. 
The Modern animals are also, as explained above, a 
selection from the grander fauna of the Post-glacial 
period. To speak for the moment in Darwinian 
language, there was for the time an evident tendency 
to promote the survival of the fittest, not in mere 
physical development, but in intelligence and sagacity. 
A similar tendency existed even in the vegetable 
world, replacing the flora of American aspect which 
had existed in the Pliocene, with the richer and more 


useful flora of Europe and Western Asia. This not 
obscurely indicates the preparing of a place for man, 
and the removal out of his way of obstacles and 
hindrances. That these changes had a relation to 
the advent of man, neither theist nor evolutionist can 
doubt, and it may be that we shall some day find 
that this relation implies the existence of a creative 
law intelligible by us; but while we fail to perceive 
any link of direct causation between the changes in 
the lower world, and the introduction of our race, we 
cannot help seeing that correlation which implies a 
far-reaching plan, and an intelligent design. 

Finally, the evolutionist picture wants some of the 
fairest lineaments of humanity, and cheats us with a 
semblance of man without the reality. Shave and 
paint your ape as you may, clothe him and set him 
up upon his feet, still he fails greatly of the "human 
form divine;" and so it is with him morally and 
spiritually as well. We have seen that he wants the 
instinct of immortality, the love of God, the mental 
and spiritual power of exercising dominion over the 
earth. The very agency by which he is evolved is of 
itself subversive of all these higher properties. The 
struggle for existence is essentially selfish, and there- 
fore degrading. Even in the lower animals, it is a 
false assumption that its tendency is to elevate; for 
animals when driven to the utmost verge of struggle 
for life, become depauperated and degraded. The 
dog which spends its life in snarling contention with 
its fellow-curs for insufiicient food, will not be a noble 


specimen of its race. God does not so treat His 
creatures. There is far more truth to nature in the 
doctrine which represents him as listening to the 
young ravens when they cry for food. But as applied 
to man, the theory of the struggle for existence and 
survival of the fittest, though the most popular phase 
of evolutionism at present, is nothing less than the 
basest and most horrible of superstitions. It makes 
man not merely carnal, but devilish. It takes his 
lowest appetites and propensities, and makes them 
his God and creator. His higher sentiments and 
aspirations, his self-denying philanthropy, his enthu- 
siasm for the good and true, all the struggles and 
sufferings of heroes and martyrs, not to speak of that 
self-sacrifice which is the foundation of Christianity, 
are in the view of the evolutionist mere loss and 
waste, failure in the struggle of life. What does he 
give us in exchange ? An endless pedigree of bestial 
ancestors, without one gleam of high or holy tradition 
to enliven the procession; and for the future, the 
prospect that the poor mass of protoplasm which 
constitutes the sum of our being, and which is the 
sole gain of an indefinite struggle in the past, must 
soon be resolved again into inferior animals or dead 
matter. That men of thought and culture should 
advocate such a philosophy, argues either a strange 
mental hallucination, or that the higher spiritual 
nature has been wholly quenched within them. It 
is one of the saddest of many sad spectacles that our 
age presents. Still these men deserve credit for their 


bold pursuit of truth, or what seems to them to be 
truth; and they are, after all, nobler sinners than 
those who would practically lower us to the level of 
beasts by their negation even of intellectual life, or 
who would reduce us to apes, by making us the mere 
performers of rites and ceremonies, as a substitute 
for religion, or who would advise us to hand over 
reason and conscience to the despotic authority of 
fallible men dressed in strange garbs, and called by 
sacred names. The world needs a philosophy and a 
Christianity of more robust mould, which shall re- 
cognise, as the Bible does, at once body and soul and 
spirit, at once the sovereignty of God and the liberty 
of man; and which shall bring out into practical 
operation the great truth that God is a Spirit, and 
they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit 
and in truth. Such a religion might walk in the 
sunlight of truth and free discussion, hand in hand 
with science, education, liberty, and material civilisa- 
tion, and would speedily consign evolution to the 
tomb which has already received so many supersti- 
tions and false philosophies. 

NOTE. Recent geological and geographical observations 
tend in the direction of fixing the site of the biblical Eden 
near the mouth of the Euphrates rather than in its upper part. 
In connection with this, it must be borne in mind that in the 
antediluvian or second continental period, the land of Western 
Asia was probably more elevated than at present. 



No geologist expects to find any human remains in beds 
older than the Tertiary, because in the older periods the 
conditions of the world do not seem to have been suitable 
to man, and because in these periods no animals nearly 
akin to man are known. On entering into the Eocene 
Tertiary we fail in like manner to find any human remains ; 
and we do not expect to find any, because no living species 
and scarcely any living genera of mammals are known in 
the Eocene ; nor do we find in it remains of any of the 
animals, as the anthropoid apes, for instance, most nearly 
allied to man. In the Miocene the case is somewhat dif- 
ferent. Here we Tiave living genera at least, and we have 
large species of apes ; but no remains of man have been 
discovered, if we except some splinters of flint found in 
beds of this age at Thenay, in France, and a notched rib- 
bone. Supposing these objects to have been chipped or 
notched by animals, which is by no means certain or even 
likely, the question remains, Was this done by man? 
Gaudry and Dawkins prefer to suppose that the artificer 
was one of the anthropoid apes of the period. It is true 
that no apes are known to do such work now; but then 
other animals, as beavers and birds, are artificers, and 
some extinct animals were of higher powers than their 
modern representatives. But if *;here were Miocene apes 


which chipped flints and cut bones, this would, either on 
the hypothesis of evolution or that of creation by law, 
render the occurrence of man still less likely than if there 
were no such apes. For these reasons neither Dawkins 
nor Gaudry, nor indeed any geologists of authority in the 
Tertiary fauna, believe in Miocene man. 

In the Pliocene, as Dawkins points out, though the facies 
of the mammalian fauna of Europe becomes more modern 
and a few modern species occur, the climate becomes colder, 
and in consequence the apes disappear ; so that the chances 
of finding fossil men are lessened rather than increased in 
so far as the temperate regions are concerned. In Italy, 
however, Capellini has described a skull, an implement, 
and a notched bone, supposed to have come from Pliocene 
beds. To this Dawkins objects that the skull and the im- 
plement are of recent type, and probably mixed with the 
Pliocene stuff by some slip of the ground. As the writer 
has elsewhere pointed out,* similar and apparently fatal 
objections apply to the skull and implements alleged to 
have been found in Pliocene gravels in California. Daw- 
kins further informs us that in the Italian Pliocene beds 
supposed to hold remains of man, of twenty-one mammalia 
whose bones occur, all are extinct species except possibly 
one, a hippopotamus. This of course renders very unlikely, 
in a geological point of view, the occurrence of human 
remains in these beds. 

In the Pleistocene deposits of Europe and this applies 
also to America we for the first time find a predominance 
of recent species of land animals. Here, therefore, we 
may look with some hope for remains of man and his 
works, and here, according to Dawkins, in the later 
Pleistocene they are actually found. When we speak, 
however, of Pleistocene man, there some questions 
as to the classification of the deposits, which, it seems to 
"Fossil Men," 1.880. 


the writer, Dawkins and other British geologists have not 
answered in accordance with geological facts, and a mis- 
understanding as to which may lead to serious error. 
This will be best understood by presenting the arrange- 
ment adopted by Dawkins with a few explanatory notes, 
and then pointing out its defects. The following may be 
stated to be his classification of the later Tertiary : 

I. PLEISTOCENE PEBIOD : the fourth epoch of the Tertiary, in 
which living species of mammals are more abundant than the extinct, 
and man appears. It may be divided into 

(a) Early Pleistocene, in which the European land was more 
elevated and extensive than at present (First Continental Period of 
Lyell), and in which Europe was colonized by animals suitable to a 
temperate climate. No good evidence of the presence of man. 

(b) Mid Pleistocene. In this period there was a great extension 
of cold climate and glaciers over Europe, and mammals of arctic 
species began to replace those previously existing. There was also a 
great subsidence of the land, finally reducing Europe to a group of 
islands in a cold sea, often ice-laden. Two flint flakes found in brick 
earth at Crayford and Erith, in England, are the only known evidences 
of man at this period. 

(c) Late Pleistocene. The land was again elevated, so that Great 
Britain and Ireland were united to each other and to the continent 
(Second Continental Period of Lyell). The ice and cold diminished. 
Modern land animals largely predominate, though there are several 
species now extinct. Undoubted evidences of man of the so-called 
" Paleolithic race," " Kiverdrift and Cave men," " Men of the Mam- 
moth and Reindeer periods." 

II. PRE-HISTOEIC PERIOD : in which domestic animals and cultivated 
fruits appear ; the land of Europe shrinks to its present dimensions. 
Man abounds, and is similar to races still extant in Europe. Men of 
" Neolithic age," " Bronze age," " Pre-historic Iron age." 

III. HISTORIC PERIOD : in which events are recorded in history. 

I have given this classification fully, in order to point 
out in the first place certain serious defects in its latter 
portion, and in the second place what it actually shows as 
to the appearance of man in Europe. 

In point of logical arrangement, and especially of geo- 
'ogiral clasbificatioii, the two last periods are decidedly 



objectionable. Even in Europe, the historic age of the 
south is altogether a different thing from that of the north; 
and to speak of the pre-historic period in Greece and in 
Britain or Norway as indicating the same portion of time 
is altogether illusory. Hence a large portion of the dis- 
cussion of this subject has to be called by our author " the 
overlap of history." Further, the mere accident of the 
presence or absence of historical documents cannot con- 
stitute a geological period comparable with such periods 
as the Pleistocene and Pliocene, and the assumption of such 
a criterion of time merely confuses our ideas. On the one 
hand, while the whole Tertiary or Kainozoic, up to the 
present day, is one great geological period, characterized 
by a continuous though gradually changing fauna and 
series of physical conditions, and there is consequently no 
good basis fur setting apart, as some geologists do, a 
Quaternary as distinct from the Tertiary period ; on the 
other hand there is a distinct physical break between the 
Pleistocene and the Modern in the great glacial age. This 
in its arctic climate and enormous submergence of the 
land, though it did not exterminate the fauna of the 
Northern Hemisphere, greatly reduced it, and at the close 
of this age many new forms came in. For this reason the 
division should be made not were Dawkins makes it, but 
at or about the end of his " Mid Pleistocene. The natural 
division would thus be : 

I. PLEISTOCENE, including 

(a) Early Pleistocene, or First Continental period. Land very ex- 
tensive, moderate climate. 

(b) Later Pleistocene, or glacial, including Dawkins' " Mid Pleis- 
tocene." In this there was a great prevalence of cold and glacial con- 
ditions, and a great submergence of the northern land. 

II. MODERN, or Period of Man and Modern Mammals, including 
(a) Post-glacial, or Second Continental period, in which the laud 

was again very extensive, and Paleocosmic man was contemporary 
with some great mammals, as the mammoth, now extinct,-- and th<: 

Al'PENDIX. 403 

area of land in the Northern Hemisphere was greater than at present. 
This represents the Late 'Pleistocene of Dawkins. It was terminated 
by a great and very general subsidence, accompanied by the dis- 
appearance of Paleocosmic man and some large mammalia, and which 
may be identical with the historical deluge. 

(b) Recent, when the continents attained their present levels, ex- 
isting races of men colonized Europe, and living species of mammals. 
This includes both the Pre-historic and Historic periods. 

On geological grounds the above should clearly be our 
arrangement, though of course there need be no objection 
to such other subdivisions as historians and antiquarians 
may find desirable for their purposes. On this classifica- 
tion the earliest certain indications of the presence of man in 
Europe, Asia, or America, so far as yet knoivn, belong to the 
Modern period alone. That man may have existed pre- 
viously no one need deny, but no man can positively affirm 
on any ground of actual fact. I do not reckon here the 
two flint flakes of Crayford and Erith already mentioned 
because even if they are of human workmanship, tiie 
actual age of the bed in which they occur, as to its being 
glacial or post-glacial, is not beyond doubt. Flint flakes 
or even flint chips may be safely referred to man when 
they are found with human remains, but when found alone 
they are by no means certain evidence. The clays of the 
Thames valley have been held by some good geologists to 
be pre-glacial, but by others to be much later, and the 
question is still under discussion. Dawkins thinks they 
may be " Mid Pleistocene," equivalent to " Later Pleis- 
tocene " of the second table above, and that they are the 
oldest traces of man certainly known ; but in the mean- 
time they should evidently be put to what has been called 
" the suspense account." 

Inasmuch, however, as the human remains of the post- 
glacial epoch are those of fully developed men of high 
type, it may be said, and has often been said, that man in 
some lower stage of development must have existed at n. 


far earlier period. That is, he must if certain theories as 
to his evolution from lower animals are to be sustained. 
This, however, is not a mode of reasoning in accordance 
with the methods of science. 

A point on which Dawkins well insists, and which he 
has admirably illustrated, is the marked distinction be- 
tween the old paleocosmic men of the gravels and caves, 
and the smaller race, with somewhat differently formed 
skulls, which succeeded them, after the great subsidence 
which terminated the Second Continental period and in- 
augurated the Modern epoch. The latter race he identi- 
fies with the Basques and ancient Iberians, a non- Aryan 
or Turanian people, who once possessed nearly the whole 
of Europe, and included the rude Ugrians and Laps of the 
north, the civilized Etruscans of the south, and the Iberians 
of the west, with allied tribes occupying the British Islands. 
This race, scattered and overthrown before the dawn of 
authentic history in Europe by the Celts and other in- 
trusive peoples, was unquestionably that which succeeded 
the now extinct paleocosmic race and constituted the men 
of the so-called "Neolithic period," which thus connects 
itself with the modern history of Europe, from which it is 
not separated by any physical catastrophe like that which 
divides the older men of the mammoth age and the widely 
spread continents of the Post-glacial period from our 
modern days. This identification of the Neolithic men 
with the Iberians, which the writer has also insisted on, 
Dawkins deserves credit for fully elucidating, and he 
might have carried it farther, to the identification of these 
same Iberians with the Berbers, the Guanches of the 
Canary Islands, and the Caribbean and other tribes of 
eastern and central America. On these hitherto dark 
subjects light is now rapidly breaking, and we may hope 
that much of the present obscurity will soon be cleared 


Another curious point illustrated by Davvkins, with the 
aid of the recent re-discovery of the tin-miues of Tuscany, 
is the connection of the Etruscans with the introduction of 
the bronze age into central Europe. This, when viewed 
in relation to the probable ethnic affinities of the Etruscans 
with the " Neolithic " and Iberian races, remarkably welds 
together the stone and bronze ages in Europe, and explains 
their intermixture and " overlap " in the earlier lake habi- 
tations of Switzerland and elsewhere. 

A still more important speculation, arising from the facts 
recently developed as to pre-historic men, is the possible 
equivalency with the historical deluge of the great sub- 
sidence which closed the residence of paleocosmic men in 
Europe, as well as that of several of the large mammalia. 
Lenormant and others have shown that the wide and 
ancient acceptance of the tradition of the Deluge among all 
the great branches of the human family necessitates the 
belief that, independently of the Biblical history, this great 
event must be accepted as an historical fact which very 
deeply impressed itself upon the minds of all the early 
nations. Now, if the Deluge is to be accepted as historical, 
and if a similar break interrupts the geological history of 
man, separating extinct races from those which still sur- 
vive, why may we not correlate the two ? The misuse of 
the Deluge in the early history of geology, in employing it 
to account for changes that took place long before the 
advent of man, certainly should not cause us to neglect 
its legitimate uses, when these arise in the progress of 
investigation. It is evident that if this correlation be 
accepted as probable, it must modify many views now held 
as to the antiquity of man. Irt that case, the modern 
gravel and loess, on plateaus and in river valleys, far above 
the reach of the present floods, may be accounted for, not 
by the ordinary action of the existing streams, but by 
the abnormal action of currents of water diluvial in their 


character. Further, since the historical deluge cannot 
have been of very long duration, the physical changes 
separating the deposits containing the remains of paleo- 
cosmic men from those of later date would in like manner 
be accounted for, not by slow processes of subsidence, 
elevation, and erosion, but by causes of more abrupt and 
cataclysmic character. This subject the writer has referred 
to in previous publications,* and he is glad to see that 
prominence has recently been given it by so good a geo- 
logist as the Duke of Argyll, in a late number of the 
Contemporary Revieio. 

* "Origin of the World," "Fossil Men." See also papers hy 
Hovrorth in the Geological Magazine for lSl-?-J. 


Abbeville, Peat of, 294. 

Acadian Group, 38. 

Advent of Man, 286. 

Agassiz on Synthetic Types, 181. 

Ammonitida, 221. 

Amphibians of the Coal Period, 


Andrews on the Post-pliocene, 293. 
Anthracosaurus, 145. 
Anticosti Formation, 61. 
Antiquity of Man. 292. 
Archteocyathus, 47. 
Archebiosis, 327. 
Arenicolites, 46. 
Asterolepis, 98. 

Baculites, 222. 

Bala Limestone, 59. 

Daphetes, 145. 

Barrande on Primordial, 49. 

Bastian on Lower forms of Life, 327. 

Beatricea, 65. 

Helemnites, 223. 

Bigsby on Silurian Fauna, 75 ; on 

Primordial Life, 52. 
Billings on Archaocyathus, 4C ; on 

Feet of Trilobites, 44. 
Binney on Stigmaria, 127. 
Biology as a term, 327. 
Boulder Clay, 268. 
Brachiopods, or Lamp-shells, 39. 
Breccia of Caverns, 304. 
Brown, Mr. E., on Stigmaria, 127. 

Calamites, 104,'129, 173. 

Calcaire Grossier, 247. 

Cambrian Age, 36 ; name denned, 


Caradoc Eocks, 60. 
Carbonic Acid in Atmosphere, 123. 
Carboniferous Age, 109 ; Land 

Snails of the, 138; Ci-ns- 
taceans of the, 154 ; Insects of 
the, 135 ; Corals of the, 153 ; 
Plants of the, 120 ; Fishes of the, 
157; Footprints in the, 143; 
Geography of the, 110; Eeptiles 
of the, 143. 

Carpenter on Cretaceous Sea, 230. 

Carruthers on Graptolites, 72. 

Cave Earth, 305. 

Cavern Deposits, 304. 

Cephalaspis, 97. 

Cephalopods of Silurian, 69. 

Ceteosaurus, 204. 

Chalk, Nature of, 227 ; Foramim- 
fera in the, 227. 

Chaos, 2. 

Climactichnites, 45. 

Coal, Origin of, 116 ; of the Meso- 
zoic, 201. 

Colours of Eocks, 110. 

Continental Plateaus, 57. 

Continents, their Origin, 13. 

Conulus Prisons, 139. 

Cope on Dinosaurs, 202 ; on Ptero- 
dactyl, 206 ; on Mososaurus, 
217 ; on Caverns, 303. 

Corals of the Silurian, 63 ; agency 
of, in forming Limestone, 63, 89 ; 
of the Devonian, 89 ; of the Car- 
boniferous, 153. 

Corniferous Limestone, 96. 

Coryphodon, 244. 

Creation, Unity of, 33; not by 
Evolution, 33 ; laws of, 78, 150; 
statement of as a theory, 340 ; re- 
quirements of, 343 ; how treated 
by Evolutionists, 339 ; definition 
and explanation of, 340 ; its pro- 
bable conditions, 352. 

Creator, evidence of a person 


Cretaceous Period, 192, 231 ; Sea 

of the, 230. 

Criuoids of the Silurian, 68. 
Croll on the Post-pliocene, 262. 
Crusiana, 4.5. 
Crustaceans of the Primordial, 42 ; 

of the Silurian, 71; of the 

Mesozoic, 225. 
Crust of the Earth, 5 ; Folding of, 


Cuvier on Tertiary Mammals, 249. 
Cystideans, 69. 

Dana on Geological Periods, 175. 

Darwin, Nature of his Theory, 327 ; 
his account of the Origin of Man, 
337 ; his statement of Descent of 
Man, 337. 

Davidson on Brachiopods, 169. 

Dawkins on Post-glacial Mammals, 

Delaunay on Solidity of theEarth,6. 

Deluge, the, 290. 

Devonian, or Brian Age, 81 ; Physi- 
cal Condition of, 82; Tabular 
View of, 85 ; Corals of the, 89 ; 
Fishes of the, 96 ; Plants of the, 
102 ; Geography of the, 82 ; In- 
sects of the, 107. 

Dinichthijs, 99. 

Dinosaurs, 202. 

Dromatherium, 208. 

Dudley, Fossils of, 69. 

Earth, its earliest state, 9 ; Crust 

of the, 5 ; folding of, 165 ; 

gaseous state of, 9. 
Edenic state of Man, 310, 376. 
Edwards, Milne, on Devonian 

Corals, 89. 
Elasmosaurus, 214. 
Elephants, Fossil, 254, 300- 
Elevation and Subsidence, 13, 29, 

83, 165. 

Eualiosaurs, 213. 
" Engis" Skull, its characters, 357. 
Eocene Seas, 241 ; Foramiiiifera of 

the, 241 ; Mammals of the, 247 ; 

Plants of the, 238; Footprints 

in the, 299. 
Eophyton, 42. 
Eosaurus, 145. 

Eozoic Period, 17. 

Eozoon Bavaricum, 38. 

Eozoon Canadense, 20, 24. 

Brian, or Devonian, 81 ; Eeason of 

the Name, 84; Table of Brian 

Formations, 85 ; Corals of the, 

89 ; Fishes of the, 96 ; Plants of 

the, 102. 

Eskers or Kames, 286. 
Etheridge on Devonian, 85. 
Eurypterus, 71, 115. 
Evolution as applied to Eozoon, 

33 ; Primordial Animals, 55 ; 

Silurian Animals, 77 ; Trilobites, 

94, 155 ; Beptiles, 150; Man, 319 ; 

Its Character as a Theory, 320 ; 

Its Difficulties, 322 ; Its " Fall of 

Man," 382. 

Falconer on Indian Miocene, 252. 

Favosites, 91. 

Ferns of the Devonian, 96 ; of the 
Carboniferous, 120. 

Fishes, Ganoid, 99 ; of the Silu- 
rian, 74 ; of the Devonian, 96 ; 
of the Carboniferous, 157. 

Flora of the Silurian, 76 ; of the 
Devonian, 102 ; of the Carboni- 
ferous, 120 ; of the Permian, 
172 ; of the Mesozoic, 199 ; of 
the Eocene, 238 ; of the Mio- 
cene, 259. 

Footprints in the Carboniferous, 
143 ; in the Trias, 203 ; in the 
Eocene, 297. 

Foraminifera, Nature of, 24 ; Lau- 
rentian, 25 ; of the Chalk, 227 ; 
of the Tertiary, 241. 

Forbes on Post-glacial Land, 288. 

Forests of the Devonian, 102 ; of 
the Carboniferous, 120. 

Ganoid Fishes, 96, 99. 

Gaseous state of the Earth, 9. 

Genesis, Book of, its account of 
Chaos, 2 ; of Creation of Land, 
13 ; of Palaeozoic Animals, 187 : 
of Creation of Eeptiles, 150 ; oi 
Creation of Mammals, 234, 298 ; 
of the Deluge, 290 ; of Creation 
of Man, 379 ; of Eden, 379. 

Genesis of the Earth, 1. 


Geography of the Silurian, 57 ; of 
the Devonian, 82; of the Car- 
boniferous, HO; of the Permian, 

Geological Periods, 175, 195. 

Glacial Period, 267, 278. 

Glauconite, 229. 

Glyptocrinus, 88. 

Graptolites, 72. 

Greenland, Miocene Flora of, 260. 

Greensand, 229. 

Gumbel on Bavarian Eozoon, 37. 

Hadrosaurus, 202. 

Hall on Graptolites, 72. 

Harlech Beds, 38. 

Heer on Tertiary Plants, 261. 

Helderberg Rocks, 62. 

Hercynian Schists, 37. 

Heterogenesis, 327. 

Hicks on Primordial Fossils, 38. 

Hilgard on Mississippi Delta, 296. 

Hippopotamus, Fossil, 300. 

Histioderma, 46. 

Hopkins on Solidity of the Earth, 6. 

Hudson Eiver Group, 60. 

Hull on Geological Periods, 186. 

Hunt, Dr. T. S., on Volcanic 
Action, 7 ; on Chemistry of 
Primeval Earth, 11 ; on Lingulas, 

Huronian Formation, 36. 

Huxley on Coal, 132 ; on Carbo- 
niferous Eeptiles, 145 ; on Dino- 
saurs, 202 ; on Paley's Argu- 
ment from Design, 348 ; on 
Good and Evil, 349 ; on Intui- 
tive and Rational Actions, 391 ; 
on tendency of Evolutionist 
views, 348. 

Hylonomus, 148. 

Ice-action in Permian, 168; in 
Post-pliocene, 270. 

Ichthyosaurus, 213. 

Ifiuanodon, 202. 

Insects, Devonian, 107 ; Carbo- 
niferous, 135 

Intelligence of Animals, Nature 
of, 328. 

Jurassic subdivisions of, 190. 

Kames, 286. 

Kaup on Dinotherium, 251. 
Kent's Cavern, 304. 
King-crabs of Carboniferous, 154. 
King on Carboniferous Reptiies, 

Labyrinthodon, 201. 

Lcelaps, 203. 

Lamp-shells, 40. 

Land-snails of Carboniferous, 138. 

La Place's Nebular Theory, 7. 

Laurentian Rocks, 18 ; Life in the, 
23 ; Plants of the, 32. 

Lepidodendron, 103, 106, 127. 

Leptophleum, 104. 

Limestone Corniferous, 96 ; Num- 
mulitic, 241; Milioline, 243; 
Silurian, 64 ; Origin of, 27, 63, 89. 

Limulus, 154. 

Lingula, 39. 

Lingula Flags, 38. 

Logan, Sir W., on Laurentian 
Rocks, 18; on Reptilian Foot 
prints, 143. 

London Clay, 247. 

Longmynd Rocks, 38, 47. 

Lower Helderberg Group, 62. 

Ludlow Group, 62. 

Lyell, Sir C., on Devonian Lime- 
stone, 89 ; on Wealden, 191 ; on 
Classification of the Tertiary, 

Machairodus, 250. 

Magnesian Limestones, 166. 

Mammals of the Mesozoic, 208 ; of 
the Eocene, 247; of the Miocene, 
250 ; of the Pliocene, 256 ; of 
the Post-glacial, 300. 

Man, Advent of, 286. 

Man, Antiquity of, 292 ; History 
of, according to Theory of 
Creation, 377 ; according to Evo- 
lution, 381 ; widely different 
from Apes, 360 ; a new type, 365 ; 
Primitive, not a Savage, 367 ; 
his Spiritual Nature, 384, 370, 
387 ; Locality of his Origin, 373 : 
Primeval, according to Creation, 
377 ; according to Evolution, 



Mayhill Sandstone, 60. 
Medina Sandstone, 60. 
Megalosaurus, 203. 
Menevian Formation, 38. 
Mesozoic Ages, 188 ; subdivisions 

of, 189 ; Flora of, 199 ; Coal of, 

201; Crustaceans of the, 225; 

Keptiles of the, 201, 212. 
Metalliferous Kocks, 167. 
Metamorphism, 21. 
Microlestes, 208. 
Milioline Limestones, 243. 
Miller on Old Red Sandstone, 86. 
Millipedes, Fossil, 136. 
Miocene Plants, 260 ; Climate, 

264 ; Mammals of, 250. 
Mississippi, Delta of the, 296. 
Modern Period, 283. 
Mosasaurus, 206. 
Morse on Lingula, 39. 
Murchison on Silurian, 56. 

Nebular Theory, 7. 
Neolithic Age, 284. 
Neozoic Ages, 236 ; divisions of, 


Newberry on Dinichthys, 99. 
Nicholson on Graptolites, 72. 
Nummulitic Limestones, 241. 

Oldhamia, 45. 
Old Bed Sandstone, 86. 
Oneida Conglomerate, 69. 
Orthoceratites, 69, 154. 
Oscillations of Continents, 179. 
Owen on Dinosaurs, 202 ; on Mar- 
supials, 209. 

Palaeolithic Age, 284, 289. 
Paltzophis, 245. 

PalasozoicLife,181; diagram of,186. 
Paley on Design in Nature ; his 

illustration of the watch, 349. 
Peat of Abbeville, 294, 
Pengelly on Kent's Hole, 304. 
Pentremites, 153. 
Periods, Geological, 195, 175. 
Permian Age, 160; Geography of 

the, 163 ; Ice-action in the, 168 ; 

Plants of the, 172; Kcptiles of 

the, 172. 
Phillips on Dawn of Life, 30 ; on 

Ceteosaurus, 204. 

Pictet on Post-pliocene Mammals, 
256 ; on Post-glacial Animals, 

Pictures of Primeval Man, 376. 

Pierce on Diminution of Earth's 
Rotation, 165. 

Pines of the Devonian, 105 ; of the 
Carboniferous, 131 ; of the Per- 
mian, 173. 

Placoid Fishes, 96. 

Plants of the Laurentian, 32 ; of the 
Silurian 76 ; of the Devonian, 
102 ; of the Carboniferous, 124 ; 
of the Permian, 172 ; of the 
Mesozoic, 199 ; of the Tertiary 
258 ; classification of, 122. 

Plateaus, Continental, 57. 

Mesiosaurus, 213. 

Pliocene, Climate of, 2G6 ; Mam- 
mals of, 256. 

Pliosaurus, 215. 

Pluvial Period, 287. 

Post-glacial Age, 283, 292. 

Post-pliocene Period, 274; cold, 
278; Ice-action in the, 270; 
Subsidence, 279 ; Elevation, 284 ; 
Shells, evidence of, against Deri- 
vation, 358; Mammals, evidence 
of, against Derivation, 357. 

Potsdam Sandstone, 38. 

Prestwich on St. Acheul, 294. 

Primordial Age, 36; Crustaceans 
of the, 42. 

Protichnites, 45. 

Protorosaurus, 172. 

Prototaxites, 76. 

PMophyton, 76, 103. 

Pteraspis, 76. 

Pterichthys, 98. 

Pterodactyls, 206. 

Pterygotus, 93. 

Pupa Vetusta, 139. 

Quebec Group, 60. 

Rain-marks, 47. 

Ramsay on Permian, 168. 

Red Sandstones, their Origin, 110, 

Reptiles of the Carboniferous, 143 , 

of the Permian, 172 ; of the Me- 
., 212. 


Rhinoceros, Fossil, 300. 
Rocks, Colours of, 110. 
Rotation of the Earth, its Gradual 
Diminution, 165. 

Salter on Fossil Crustacea, 155. 
Sedgwick on Cambrian, 56, 75. 
Seeley on Pterodactyls, 206. 
Shrinkage-cracks, 47. 
Sigillaria, 104, 124. 
Silurian Ages, 56 ; Cephalopods 

of the, 69 ; Corals of the, 63 ; 

Crinoids of the 68 ; Crustaceans 

of the, 71 ; Fishes of the, 74 ; 

Plants of the, 76. 
Siluro-Cambrian, use of the term, 


Slaty Structure, 48. 
Solidity of the Earth, 6. 
Somme, R., Gravels of, 292. 
Species, Nature of the, 327 ; how 

Created, 352. 

Spencer, his Exposition of Evo- 
lution, 321, 331. 
Spiritual Nature of Man, 384, 370, 

Spore-cases in Coals and Shales, 


Stalagmite of Caves, 305. 
Striated Rock-surfaces, 269. 
Stumps, Fossil of Carboniferous, 

Synthetic Types, 181. 

Table of Devonian Rocks, 85 ; of 
Palaeozoic Ages, 187 ; of Mesozoic 
Ages, 234; of Neozoic Ages, 
298 ; of Post-pliocene, 276. 

Temperature of Interior of the 

Earth, 4. 
Tertiary Period, 236; Mammals 

of, 247, 250, 256 ; classification 

of its Rocks, 238. 
Thomson, Sir W., on Solidity of 

the Earth, 6. 

Time, Geological Divisions of, 175. 
Tiniere, Cone of, 293. 
Trenton Limestone, 59, 63. 
Trias,Divisions of, 189 ; Footprints 

in the, 203. 

Trilobites,43, 94, 154; Feet of, 43. 
Turtles of Mesozoic, 218. 
Tylor on Pluvial Period, 287. 
Tyndall on Carbonic Acid in 

Atmosphere, 123. 

Uniformitarianism in Geology, 3. 
Utica Shale, 60. 

Volcanic Action, 7 ; of Cambrian 
Age, 36 ; of Silurian Age, 62 ; of 
Devonian Age, 81, 83. 

Von Dechen on Reptiles of Car- 
boniferous, 143. 145. 

Von Meyer on Dinosaurs, 202. 

Walclria, 173. 

Wallace,his views onlnapplicability 
of Natural Selection to Man, 368. 
Wealden, 191. 
Wenlock Group, 62. 
Williamsonia gigas, 200. 
Williamson on Calamites, 131. 
Woodward on Pterygotus, 93. 

Zaphrentis, 92. 

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